Emma Tupper's Diary
by Peter Dickinson
Cover Artist: Kathleen Jennings
Review by Gayle Surrette
Big Mouth House Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781618730633
Date: 04 March 2014 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Emma Tupper is visiting her cousins in Scotland for the holidays. From the moment she arrived at the train station in Edinburgh, she believed she could win the prize for the best holiday diary. The cousins, Roderick (Roddy), Andy, and Fiona (Finn) McAndrew, were definitely going to be interesting and she doubted there would be a dull moment. The loch was beautiful, if a bit creepy at night with the cries of the wild cats. It was going to be a great vacation.
The cousins are looking for ways to make money since a revolt in South America has cut into the sales of their McAndrew's Infallible Liniment. They decide to pull off a big hoax, if they can resurrect an old submarine in the boat house and make it work. It looks like Emma will have even more to add to her diary for the contest. But then, she begins to think beyond the moment to the ramifications of what they're doing and has to make some very hard choices.
First published in 1971, Emma Tupper's Diary is still a great adventure story with characters that seem very real and as relatable today as there were then. It's got a great location, adventure, great by-play and witty conversations, as well as an ecological and humanitarian conundrum with real implications for the future of the area and its denizens.
The book is not preachy, it's just a fast paced adventure that leaves the reader with plenty to think about after the final page. For me, those are the best books of all. Not to forget that this would also make a great summer beach read -- or for reading while camping by a lake (for atmosphere, of course).