Book Review: Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee

Trauma Queen imageBarbara Dee’s last book, This Is Me From Now On, was one of my favorites from last year. So I was looking forward to reading her latest, Trauma Queen, about a girl and her mother and how they learn to understand important things about each other. Just as I had hoped, the book was a delight to read. Here’s my review:

Marigold feels she has more reason to be embarrassed of her mother than most teenaged girls. Her mom, Becca, is a performance artist who gets attention for doing what a lot of people consider weird. She’s also not shy about saying what she thinks about someone—and when she uses her performance art to parody Marigold’s best friend’s mom…well things don’t work out so well for Mari.

Now that the Baileys have moved to a new town, Mari hopes she can keep her mom out of the limelight and start living a normal life. Then Becca offers to teach an after-school improv group of Mari’s classmates, and she’s back to worrying about losing everything she’s built up again.

Trauma Queen by Barbara Dee is a funny and thoughtful look at what happens when the daughter is the responsible one in her family and she feels the need to mother her own mother. Becca is a free spirit, who doesn’t consider consequences before she acts. In response, Mari is super-organized and personally conservative. They each need to find a way to acknowledge and respect each other’s strengths without dismissing the things they don’t particularly like about each other.

There are so many issues for mother-daughter book clubs to explore when they read Trauma Queen, including getting along with family members even when your personalities are very different, respecting someone else’s choices although you disagree with them, ways moms embarrass their daughters, and more. I highly recommend it for groups with girls aged 9 to 12.

Publisher Simon and Schuster provided me with a copy of this book to review.


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