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Literature / The Diamond Girls

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The Diamond Girls is a 2004 novel aimed at preteens/teenagers by Jacqueline Wilson. It revolves around the Diamonds, a family consisting of single mother Sue and her four daughters, Martine, Jude, Rochelle and Dixie. Told from the perspective of ten year old Dixie, the story focuses on how the family must come together when they move to a rundown estate, after Sue gets pregnant again.

Contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Jude's father Dean was to her and Martine, which is why Sue left him. It is revealed that Mary's mother abuses her.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Bruce is constantly getting the girls' names wrong or mixed up. He seems to have finally figured them all out by the end.
  • Adult Fear: Lots of examples, as per usual for Jacqueline Wilson. Some major examples include:
    • Being forced to live in a rundown house in a less than savoury neighbourhood with your five children and no one to help.
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    • Children being left to fend for themselves in such an environment (Dixie, Rochelle and Jude face the very real fear of gang members trying to break in).
    • Children being abused by their parents.
    • Your daughter being seriously injured (which is what snaps Sue out of her post-natal depression).
  • Aerith and Bob: The Diamond family has Sue...and Martine, Jude, Rochelle, Dixie and Sundance. Justified, as Sue deliberately chose unusual names for her kids because she hated how 'boring and generic' her own name is.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Deconstructed for Sue; her ‘bad boy’ boyfriends consisted of Dean, whom she dumped when he started beating her and her kids, and Jordan, who died of a drug overdose. Initially played straight with Rochelle for Ryan, who is a member of one of the estate’s local gangs, but it’s later subverted; Ryan actually seems to be a decent guy, trying to deter the others from fighting with Jude, is determined to finish school and stay out of trouble with the law and seems to genuinely care about Rochelle.
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  • Alliterative Name: Dixie Diamond.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Martine, the eldest, generally considers herself to be above her younger sisters' near-constant bickering. However, when she learns Dixie is in hospital, she immediately rushes to see her, proving that for all her aloofness, she really does love her sisters.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Sue is heavily implied to be suffering from post-natal depression. Also, Mary’s mother seems to have some form of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, in addition to post-natal depression.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Jude sees Rochelle and sometimes even Dixie as this, though she still looks out for them. Rochelle sees Dixie as one, though Dixie usually tries to avoid irritating her. Martine seems to regard all her siblings as this, though it’s implied she’s more stressed about her circumstances than her siblings and takes it out on them.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Dixie confronts Sue about her continuing to pretend that Sundance is a boy, she asks her what she's going to do when Sundance starts preschool, where it will be pretty much impossible to keep the charade up. Subverted in that Sue continues the lie anyway, though she does eventually come clean in the end, realising she's being ridiculous.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Dixie gets along the worst with Rochelle but they do care for each other. The author mentions in a preface that she wanted to show that the Diamonds are a warm, loving family at heart, despite their rough edges, in contrast to Mary's picture-perfect family life which hides a very cold and troubled background.
  • Babies Ever After: Martine reveals in the end she intends to keep her unborn baby and raise it with her family’s help.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Dixie, until Sundance is born.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Martine and Tony have one early in the novel, as she's about to move away from London with her family. They apparently get a bit carried away, with Sue eventually telling Martine to "put Tony down" and get in the van.
    • Moments later, one of the boys in the gang Jude hangs around with tries giving her one in farewell. Jude responds by punching him in the face.
  • Big Sister Bully: Rochelle can be this towards Dixie.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Jude towards Rochelle and especially Dixie. She tries to fight off a whole gang to protect Rochelle (though Rochelle is unappreciative due to wanting attention from the boys) and Dixie mentions that Jude used to stick up for her from bullies when they went to the same school.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mary’s mother. She seems to be sweet and kind, but actually very cruel and disturbed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Dixie and her family are still living on a crappy estate, but have each other, with Bruce and Terry to help them out. Martine also comes back and Sue starts acting like a responsible parent again and admits that Sundance is a girl. It’s unclear what will happen to Mary, but at least she will no longer be abused by her mother and her mother will also be able to get the psychological help she desperately needs.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Jude.
  • Boy Next Door: Rochelle regards Tony as being this, which in her opinion makes him rather dull. When Martine gives her a shove in response, Rochelle protests that she's not wrong, as Tony literally is the boy next door (he lives in the flat next to the Diamonds'). However, given that Martine eventually breaks up with him due to him constantly insulting and disrespecting her family, Tony may not be as nice as he first appears.
  • Brainless Beauty: Downplayed with Martine. She’s not stupid, but she isn’t very academically inclined. Inverted with Rochelle, who’s both beautiful and very smart.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Rochelle, though she’s closer to being a Bratty Teenage Daughter, considering she’s almost thirteen.
  • Butt-Monkey: Bruce, for most of the novel, culminating in him doing his back in and ending up bedridden on the Diamonds' living room floor. Things get better for him from then on, though.
  • Cartwright Curse: Sue. Her first boyfriend left her because he couldn’t cope with being a teen parent. She left her second boyfriend because he was abusive. Her third boyfriend died of a drug overdose and her fourth boyfriend already has a family. The father of her fifth child is implied to be a one night stand.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sue constantly warns Martine about being careful with Tony, lest she gets pregnant. Martine barely listens to her...and guess what happens...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Bluebell, Dixie’s toy budgie. She gives her to Mary to help her ‘fly’ down from the garden wall and lets her borrow her to sleep with at night. In the end, Dixie goes to Mary's house to retrieve Bluebell and so is able to catch Mary when she tries to jump out the window.
  • Childish Older Sibling: Rochelle Diamond generally comes off as being less mature, responsible and perceptive than her younger sister Dixie. She spends most of her time hanging out with boys, fighting with Jude and whining about her situation, while Dixie makes an effort to help clean up the house and get things organised.
  • Children Are Innocent:
    • Deconstructed / Played for Drama. When trying to coax Mary down from a wall, Dixie tells her if she holds onto her toy budgie Bluebell, she will be able to fly down safely. Much later, Mary, holding Bluebell, attempts to jump out of a second storey window, apparently really believing Bluebell will help her fly.
    • Also applies to Dixie to an extent, though she's less naive than Mary. When she first realises Sundance is actually a girl after changing her nappy, she desperately tries to rationalise it, thinking that perhaps newborn boys just have very small genitalia and that she simply didn't notice.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Dixie is seen as one, due to her tendency to get lost in her own world to escape her daily life. Played for Drama when Sue starts to become one, apparently convincing herself that Sundance really is a boy. Fortunately, she snaps out of it in the end.
  • Comforting the Widow: This is implied to be how Terry (an embalmer) and Sue (who had just lost her partner Jordan) got into a relationship.
  • Cool Big Sis: Jude to Dixie. Rochelle can be this sometimes, when she isn't picking on her.
  • Daddy's Girl: A somewhat one-sided example. Dixie adores her father, but he himself rarely sees her and keeps her existence a secret from his family. In the end though, he comes to see her in hospital and promises he’s going to spend more time with her and tell his family about her, so it seems he actually does care for her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Jude and Martine were both abused by Jude's father. Played with for Rochelle; she acts as though her father's death is "the big tragedy of her life", though Dixie thinks it's just for attention, as she was only two when her father died and so is unlikely to remember him.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Or rather, dating what mummy hates. Sue doesn’t approve of Martine’s boyfriend Tony and thinks she can do better. Given that he and his mother constantly badmouth her and her children, she may have a point. In the end, Martine comes to agree with her mum and leaves him.
  • Disappeared Dad: All the girls’ fathers. Downplayed with Dixie’s father, who is in contact with her but very rarely comes to see her. In the end, he promises he will be more involved with her life.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Dixie seems to become this way after the move, probably to reflect her innocence and cuckoolander behavior.
  • Drama Queen: Rochelle. Martine can be this too at times, but she’s not nearly as bad as Rochelle. Also, in Martine's case, her overreactions and emotional outbursts could actually be a result of pregnancy hormones.
  • Dude Magnet: Rochelle is shaping up to be one...which is a bit creepy when you consider she's not even a teenager yet. She knows it, too.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Diamonds, although for all their bickering, they really do love each other and come together in the end to support one another.
  • Extremely Protective Child: Dixie is the only member of the family that relentlessly defends Sue despite her neglectful and selfish behavior, and protects Sue when she reveals Diamond is a boy. Although Jude is also very protective of Sue.
  • Fille Fatale: Rochelle comes across as one, flirting with boys and wearing tight clothing and heels. She’s only twelve (or “very nearly thirteen” as she constantly states).
  • Fingore: Dixie is shocked when she sees that Mary has cut her nails right back, to the point where it's clearly causing her pain. It turns out her own mother cut them using nail scissors because they were 'dirty'.
  • Force Feeding: At one point, Dixie witnesses Mary's mother pinching her nose and forcing her sandwich crusts down her throat because she didn't want to eat them, nearly choking her.
  • Foreshadowing: Martine’s stomach bug. It seems at first it’s travel sickness, stress-related due to having to move so soon or just an excuse to get out of helping unpack. Turns out it’s actually morning sickness.
  • Fortune Teller / Astrologer: Sue fancies herself as one, being very into tarot cards, Crystal Balls, star-charts and that sort of thing. It seems very unlikely she's got actual psychic powers, as most of her 'predictions' don't seem to come true.
  • Generation Xerox: Sue left home at sixteen after getting pregnant by her High School Sweetheart. Martine does the same, though she ends up dumping her boyfriend and coming back home, with her family promising to support her.
  • Ghetto Name: Mary's mother treats the Diamond sisters like their names are this, with Dixie remarking that she says her name as if it were something rude. However, their names, while unusual, aren't actually that outlandish. Well, except for Sundance, maybe.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Between all the sisters, but in particular Jude and Rochelle, who actually get into physical fights from time to time.
  • Good Bad Girl: Sue enjoys drinking and clubbing, and all five of her children have been fathered by different men (one of whom was already married). However, she's fundamentally a good person who loves her children and tries to do what's best for them all.
  • Happy Place: Dixie is fond of going to these to escape the stress and chaos of her daily life.
  • Hates Their Parent:
    • Martine resents Sue, feeling that she always puts her siblings before her, never confides in her and disliking the fact that Sue is making her move away from her boyfriend (whom Sue disapproves of) into a rundown house. During an argument, Martine even states to Sue's face that she thinks she's a slag note  due to all her children being fathered by different men and moves out. However, Martine is actually quite horrified at herself for saying this and in the end she comes back and reconciles with her mother, with both of them admitting they made mistakes.
    • Jude is nothing but contemputous of her father Dean, referring to him as a "violent nutter" and not caring in the slightest where he is now. Given he was abusive to her mother, older sister and possibly her too, it's unsurprising.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Downplayed in that no one dies, but when Mary jumps out the window, Dixie runs forwards to catch her. As a result, she is knocked unconscious and badly breaks both her legs, but she saves Mary’s life.
  • Honorary Uncle: Bruce. In an unusual example, he’s not really a family friend, but a work acquaintance of Dixie’s dad, who persuaded him to help the Diamonds move house. Dixie, however, quickly grows fond of him and dubs him ‘Uncle Bruce’. He eventually warms up to the idea and by the end, the other girls and their mother seem to have accepted him as ‘one of the family’ too.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Rochelle (although she’s not quite a teenager yet), is obsessed with boys. Martine is hinted to be one, seeing as she is having a sexual relationship with her boyfriend resulting in pregnancy.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: Dixie at the end can’t and panics, thinking she’s paralysed. It turns out her legs are just broken – she can still move her toes – and she can’t move them because they’re strapped up in plaster.
  • Imagine Spot: Dixie has these often. Sometimes, they become quite dark, such as imagining her mother dying in childbirth, which actually reduces her to tears.
  • Implausible Deniability: Sue initially keeps on insisting that Sundance is a boy to Dixie, even though Dixie has clearly seen she's female when she changed her nappy.
  • Induced Hypochondria: Mary's mother does this to her, even forcing her to take medicine she doesn't need, among various other nasty things.
  • It's All About Me: Martine accuses her mother of only ever thinking about herself, not her daughters. Rochelle can also be rather self-absorbed.
  • Junkie Parent: Rochelle's father Jordan became addicted to drugs and ended up dying of an overdose when she was two years old.
  • The Lost Lenore: Jordan, Rochelle’s dad, for Sue. He died of a drug overdose.
  • Love Martyr: Defied by Sue, who stated that even though she loved him, she wouldn’t tolerate her ex Dean abusing her and her kids and left him. Also defied by Martine eventually, who gets sick of her boyfriend Tony badmouthing her family and dumps him.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Dixie has three sisters and another sibling on the way. They all have different dads too. She's also got three paternal half-sisters she's never met.
  • Mommy Issues: Sue implies she and her mother didn’t have the best relationship and according to Dixie, she didn’t much care for her grandchildren and never sent them birthday or Christmas cards. Martine and Sue also don't get along but make up in the end.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Sue almost says this word for word when she realises she's moved her family into a dump of a house.
    • Martine briefly seems to be hit by this when she blurts out that everyone at their old home called Sue a slag behind her back.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Sue moves her family to a council house, hoping for a fresh start and more room for the new baby. Unfortunately, it turns out the estate is...not the nicest place to raise a family and the house itself is filthy and falling apart.
    • After Sue and Martine's big argument Dixie expects they will cry, apologise and works things out. Unfortunately, Bruce, not being familiar with the family's dynamics, berates Martine in an attempt to stand up for Sue, causing Martine to leave.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Bruce. The guy goes above and beyond to help the Diamonds move house, including taking time off work to help clean the place up and do repairs, taking Sue to hospital when her waters break and coming back to act as a babysitter and make sure the girls have food and other necessities...most of which is unpaid. For his trouble, he spends much of the novel being browbeaten or disrespected by the family (save for Dixie) and generally taken advantage of, and also gets a dirty nappy on his head and does his back in trying to help the family shift furniture. However, he does eventually earn the family's respect and develops a close bond with Dixie, so it's possibly not all bad for him.
  • Not So Stoic: Jude, after being beaten up by one of the estate's gangs.
  • Oh, Crap!: The girls' reaction when see how rundown the Planet Estate is.
  • One of the Boys: Jude hangs around with boys more than girls and is usually as good a fighter as any of them.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Martine accuses her mother of this when she tries to lecture her about Tony, pointing out that she got pregnant with her when she was just sixteen. Sue counters with "That's exactly my point. I know what I'm talking about".
  • Parental Neglect: Sue becomes rather neglectful towards her daughters in the second half of the novel, though it’s partly justified in that she has just given birth and seems to be suffering from depression (which is hardly surprising, given her circumstances). She snaps out of it in the end though.
    • Mary's dad, as, although he's far more gentle than his wife, and does show Mary love, he doesn't do enough to stop her cruelty.
  • Parents as People: Sue. She’s far from perfect and makes some mistakes, but she genuinely loves her children and tries her best to care for them all, despite her less than ideal circumstances.
    • Also, Mary's dad. He's a weak-willed man, who loves his daughter, but doesn't do enough to speak up for her.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Dixie describes Jude as being "short, but squat and very, very tough". She's able to go toe-to-toe with with boys in a fight, but Reality Ensues when she picks a fight with a gang of boys much bigger and stronger than her. However, it's Double Subverted when Bruce starts teaching her Wing Chun martial arts, which can be well-utilised to help a person fighter off a larger opponent.
  • Plain Jane: Dixie and Jude are both described as being plain-looking, especially next to the more conventionally beautiful Martine and Rochelle. Jude doesn't give two hoots about her appearance, while Dixie is implied to feel a bit more despondent about it because it's yet another thing her sisters overshadow her in.
  • Practically Different Generations: There's a big age gap between the Diamond sisters and their newest sibling Sundance, whom their mother unexpectedly got pregnant with. Dixie, previously the youngest in the family, is still ten years older than Sundance; the eldest, Martine, is sixteen years older and is later revealed to be having a baby herself, meaning Sundance will have a niece or nephew who is around the same age. Dixie also finds out her father and his wife recently had another baby, making her ten years older than her other half-sibling too.
  • Raised as the Opposite Gender: A major plot point is Sue trying to raise Sundance – who is a girl, not a boy as believed – as a boy, due to wanting a son so badly. It gets to the point where she seems to genuinely believe she is a boy, but she eventually stops the charade in the end and accepts Sundance as she is.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Sue. Subverted by Martine, who deliberately bleaches her hair blonde to not look like Sue.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Martine gives two of these to Sue; one at the start, and then another one which culminates in her revealing everyone back in Bletchworth called Sue a slag behind her back and then storming off.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Jude generally does whatever she wants and is defiant to authority figures or people who try to tell her what to do. She hangs around with gangs, climbs up on the roof of her block of her flats, often bunks off school and stays out half the night. This gets her into trouble when she mouths off to a gang leader on the Planet Estate and she's lucky to escape with just a bloody nose.
  • The Reveal: Sundance is actually a girl. Mary’s mother is abusive. Martine is pregnant.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Towards the end of the book, Martine storms out and goes back to Bletchworth to move in with her boyfriend. She comes back in the end though.
  • Secret Keeper: Dixie. She keeps quiet about Sundance actually being a girl and Mary’s mother abusing her.
  • Shipper on Deck: Dixie ships her mum with Bruce, a friend of her dad's that she bonds with, though it's mainly because she wants a father figure in her life and not because she understands how adult relationships works. Although, they do seem pretty pally together towards the end…
  • Ship Tease: A little bit between Sue and Bruce, especially after he stands up for her when Martine calls her a slag, stating he believes she’s a good mother in spite of her flaws. Sue is very touched.
  • Shout-Out: Sue suggests Dixie could use her imagination to write books like Harry Potter. Jude is mentioned as being a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whilst home alone, Rochelle, Jude and Dixie play Top of the Pops, with Rochelle singing Bohemian Rhapsody. Jude snidely asks if Ryan is meant to be an extra for Pirates of the Caribbean. Sundance's name is inspired by The Sundance Kid (Sue briefly considers the name Butch, like Butch Cassidy, which leads into the name Sundance). Rochelle suggests the name 'Baby Busted' as a joke, which seems to reference the band Busted.
  • Siblings Wanted: Inverted. The Diamond girls are all shocked and embarrassed when their mother reveals she’s pregnant again. However, they come to love their new sibling anyway. Mary, though, seems to play this straight, wishing she had siblings to play with.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Rochelle and Jude stand out the most. Rochelle's a flighty girly-girl who likes fashion and flirting, whilst Jude is a tough-as-nails tomboy who spends her time "skyrocketing around fighting with a lot of wild boys" as her mother puts it and couldn't care less about looking attractive.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Martine insists she'll never love anyone but her boyfriend Tony. She seems to have changed her mind by the end.
  • Slut-Shaming: Apparently, the Diamonds’ neighbours at Bletchworth call Sue a “slag” behind her back, due to the fact she’s a single mother whose five children have all been fathered by different men, which her children are aware of but never tell her to spare her feelings. Martine herself later reveals what everyone thought of Sue and that she agrees in a fit of anger, devastating Sue. Bruce, however, disagrees, saying that although Sue has had many boyfriends, he thinks she’s a good mother and a good person. Sue’s other children vehemently disagree as well, with Jude threatening to punch anyone who says it.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Rochelle towards Ryan.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Sue had Martine at the age of sixteen, Jude at about eighteen and Rochelle at about nineteen. Martine herself is revealed to be pregnant at sixteen.
  • Theme Naming: The streets on the Planet Estate are all named after the different planets in our solar system (for example, the Diamonds live on Mercury Street).
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jude and Rochelle, respectively.
  • Tomboyish Name: Jude is very much a tomboy with a lot of spunk and her name is more commonly given to boys (though it is used as a girl's name too, being derived from Judith). Sue tends to pick more unusual or uncommon names for all her kids.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: The revelation that Sundance is a girl is this for Dixie especially, and Sue.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The gangs on the Planet Estate and Sue’s ex-boyfriend Dean.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Jude's father Dean apparently hit Martine, his stepdaughter who would've been a toddler at the time. He may also have hurt Jude too, who was only a baby.
    • Mary's mother, who is very physically abusive to her.
  • Wretched Hive: The Planet Estate comes across as one, with rundown houses, garbage piled in the streets, gangs of thuggish youths constantly out looking for a fight and the presence of so-called "problem families".
  • You're Not My Father: Jude and Rochelle often say this to Bruce, though they eventually come to respect him.


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