13/03/2018 10:21 GMT | Updated 14/03/2018 12:02 GMT

Jacqueline Wilson's 'Tracy Beaker' Sequel Sparks Debate About Portrayal Of Kids In Care

'Can't Tracy get a happy ending?'

Jacqueline Wilson’s sequel to her famous ‘The Story Of Tracy Beaker’ has prompted a debate online about the fact the central character ends up being a “struggling single mother”.

The original fiction book, published in 1991, followed Tracy, a 10-year-old girl in a care home, where she was placed as a result of neglect. Wilson announced on 11 March that the much-loved character is back, “as a single mum fighting to make ends meet”. In an interview with the Guardian, Wilson explained the new book, published 27 years later - ‘My Mum Tracy Beaker’ - reads from the point of view of Tracy’s nine-year-old daughter, Jess. 

“Being Tracy, she wants to be independent, but with a child, how can she be? So she’s having to scratch around,” Wilson explained. Responding to comments on the announcement tweet, some fans felt disheartened that Tracy was “doomed” and didn’t end up being a “success story”. 

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However others argued that just because Tracy Beaker is struggling to make ends meet, does not mean she is not a “success”.

In a previous interview with HuffPost UK, Wilson said she always wanted to make sure the characters in her books were realistic. “I loved my books as a child but I do remember feeling like the children weren’t real enough,” she said at the time. 

“I was in a respectable working class family living in a council flat and I was perfectly aware that these backgrounds in the books weren’t my background. I was able to write the sort of things that reflected life around me or the things I was interested in. I do think other books were avoiding these issues and it was something I had to write about.”

Commenting on the debate, Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com said it’s important to remember it’s fiction - so anything can happen. “Tracy may start the book as a stereotypical, struggling single parent and of course that’s not positive or a true reflection of lone parenthood,” she said. “But where she ends up is a whole different story. And remember the truth can be more powerful than fiction. JK Rowling was once a struggling single mum on benefits and is now one of the most lauded - and wealthiest - women in the UK. So don’t write off Tracy just yet.”

Many of Wilson’s fans simply expressed their happiness about the news of the sequel. 

HuffPost UK has contacted Wilson about the reaction to her book and will update this piece upon her response. 

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