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Great Book Review for a Girl’s Coming of Age

Posted on: December 3, 2010

              Looking for Alibrandi –
              For Any Girl Looking to Fit In
              Reviewed by: Dana Flannery
              Melina Marchetta’s novel tells a snippet of
              the story of Australian Anglo-Italian
              Josephine Alibrandi. Josie is a confined,
              defensive 17 year old who’s struggling to
              physically contain her emotions. She’s a
              sophomore student whose English
              scholarship to an exclusive girls’ school sees
              her stand out from the crowd   for what she
              perceives to be all the wrong reasons.
              Born to a teenage mother and raised with the
              well meaning assistance of an intrusive
              Italian family, Josie believes her heritage to
              be the burden that defines her young life. Her
              catholic upbringing taught her about
              martyrdom, and she applies the term with
              passion every day, delighting in any
              opportunity to remind others how hard she
              has it. “We live in the same country but we’re
              different. What’s taboo for Italians isn’t taboo
              for Australians.”
              In senior year, Josie experiences a rush of
              hormones and the stress of an increasing
              study load. During this most important year,
              she also meets her father for the first time.
              He has previously been the dramatic family
              secret and is not appreciated by family
              matriarch, Nonna. But Attorney Michael
              proves to be a very practical resource for
              Josie when she finds herself in self-imposed
              hot water.              
              Drama peaks for Josie at the sudden loss of a
              special friend to suicide. John Barton was
              perfect boyfriend material whose life was
              altogether overwhelming; his loss is a tragedy
              to Josie. In her struggle to come to terms
              with his death, her relationship with Michael
              deepens as he comforts her and helps her to
              understand that “living is the challenge,
              Josie. Not dying. Dying is so easy. Sometimes
              it only takes ten seconds to die. But living?
              That can take you eighty years….”
              Finally, Josie falls unexpectedly, and utterly
              in love with Jacob Coote, the totally wrong-
              for-her, motorcycle riding, pubic School
              Captain babe who claims in true Aussie style
              “you get into punch-ups with girls, you wipe
              your nose with your sleeve…you’re my kind of
              Marchetta’s fluid story reads like the minds
              of most 17 year old girls, so it’s no surprise to
              learn that the novel was based on real life. 
              Her penchant for creating scenes where the
              nuances of each character are beautifully,
              and melodically revealed deny the reader
              nothing, yet leaves the window open just
              enough for imagination to take hold when it’s
              Ultimately tough, what results in
              Marchetta’s story telling is the coming of age,
              the maturing, the development, the story of
              Josephine Alibrandi. She is looking for her
              father, looking for love, looking for her place
              in life.  She finds them all, and in the process,
              she finds herself. 
              Dana Flannery is passionate about working
              with girls and women of all ages and feels
              privileged to be part of families through her
              Naming Celebrant </a> business.

To purchase this book, please click on the following link:


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Irene Roth

Irene S. Roth, Freelance Writer for Teens, Tweens, and Kids

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