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Book Review: The Day The Screens Went Blank by Danny Wallace


When ten-year-old Stella wakes up to discover a world full of BLANK screens, her family, town, and in fact the whole world seems to have been thrown into chaos. And what about poor Grandma who is stranded at the other end of the country?

Cue a rollicking madcap road trip, full of driving disasters and family fallouts, as they set off on a rescue mission. And along the way Stella and her family discover that being away from screens might not be the WORST THING EVER, and even though they might not be able to rely on technology anymore, they can rely on each other instead.

'So funny' - Noel Fielding

Book Review:

The Day The Screens Went Blank puts a lighthearted, heartwarming spin on the reality of how technology controls our lives, splits families apart, and how that might change if we were forced to look away. Stella is a very organised young girl who, like everyone, loves spending time with her family all looking at their own screens - until one day when all the screens stop working and she, her brother Teddy, her parents, Sandra down the road and everyone else on the planet have to work and plan and play and talk to each other in person - SHOCK HORROR!

The mere thought of having to write with a pencil or send a letter or read a book or talk to somebody feels positively archaic, but this absence of screens during a road trip to save grandma is what makes Stella's family stronger than ever.

Wallace also does a great job of showing that it is not just children who have a hard time staying away from technology - Stella's parents throughout this book struggle intensely without their GPS, smartphones and laptops, coming to realise how much of their own and their children's lives they have been missing out on as a result.

The book is great at mimicking the covid-mania we all went through last year in the form of the loss of technology, showing how people faced with sudden change tend to run around like headless chickens and buy all the toilet roll (which is very confusing to Stella - surely adults are supposed to be level headed and logical all the time?). By the end of the book Stella realises that adults know what they are doing as well as kids do, and that whilst technology is good SOMETIMES, if you give real family interaction a chance it can make for some spectacular memories.

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