The illustrated mum ISBN: 9780385408882
Published by Doubleday, 1999
Marigold is covered in tattoos, and there is a brightness about her that people love. She is also manic depressive, and her two daughters, Star and Dolphin, must cope with her idiosyncracies. Star, the elder, has grown out of needing her mum and is thoroughly irritated with her. Dol, however, needs her, and is willing to put up with anything. Dol is 'different' at school; dyslexic and unusual in her dress, she is often unkempt because of Marigold's indifference to her physical needs. Marigold has a wonderful imagination, and Dol loves her stories and her sense of humour. Neither girl knows her father, though both are found in the course of the story. Marigold finally becomes so ill that Dol must make a decision to call an ambulance, and there is hope at the end that Marigold will have the medical help she so desperately needs. This is not a happy story, but the characterisation, as always with Jacqueline Wilson, is spot on. Dol and her friend Oliver go through harrowing experiences, but one feels that Dol, unlike her mum, is a survivor. Her experiences with a very special foster mother come into the story, and events follow on with breathtaking speed. Highly readable.