Read and Weep, says the spidery writing on the cover of the book. Read and Weep. When five children become stranded in the haunted towers of Old Harwick Hall, they uncover the story of Richard Clayton Harwick, a boy who knew what it meant to have a truly wicked stepfather. As the lightning flashes, the children begin to relate their own tales of step parents, stories that are full of warmth and humour, yet with a fair share of sadness.
At first it seems the children could have nothing in common. Sports-mad Robbo, quick-witted Ralph, sensible Claudia, fiery Pixie and dreamy Colin seem as different to each other as it is possible to be. Yet they soon find they have one thing in common, and that is that they are all the products of broken homes.
Having read several of Anne Fine's books, I would have to say I think this is the best. The lack of plot is of no consequence as the books main purpose is as a forum for the various stories. "Step By Wicked Step" proves that all pain eventually heals and that we have the power to change things for the better.
I found I could relate to the children, as although I have never had to cope with a stepfamily, my mother is a single parent. Colin's story I found especially moving, having never known my father.
I first read this book when I was nine years old, and still enjoy it even today. A combination of interesting characters, moving stories and the powerful, disturbing tale of Richard Clayton Harwick combine to make this an immensely enjoyable read.
"Step by Wicked Step" is a tale that is both funny and moving. It is the perfect read for any children whose parents have separated, or any child who has to cope with a step-parent or step-family. Even for those who aren't in that situation, the book is an absorbing read that will make you both laugh and cry.
If you enjoyed "Step by wicked Step", I would recommend "The Tulip Touch" by the same author, which is a powerful, disturbing read.