‘Dear H’ by Diane Guntrip has a universal theme, that of bullying. It is written as a diary by Amanda to an imaginary friend, H, and details 12 year old Amanda’s emotional roller-coaster as she encounters bullying on a daily basis. Amanda’s background would suggest she has everything materialistically that a young girl could wish for. However, she is lonely, finds difficulty in confiding her problems to her parents who are so wrapped up in their business lives that they fail to read the signs of conflict their daughter is battling on a daily basis. As a result of the bullying, Amanda also suffers from depression and low self-esteem. However, Amanda has a secret, her passion is singing and writing song lyrics and this leads her to eventually fulfil her dream. Of course, she could not do this without the help of her first friend, Emma, a paraplegic who shares the same love of singing, and a grandmother, who is not only supportive but who can arrange for Amanda to have the secret singing lessons she so craves. The book fictionalizes situations that in reality are distressing to many students. At the same time, it is empowering as we read of the development of Amanda from ‘poor little rich girl’ to realising her dreams. The book opens a whole spectrum of discussion points.

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