Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Saving Francesca--Melina Marchetta

Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003.
Pages: 244 p (ebook)
Source: Library ebook
Compensation: None

I have a thing for Australian authors (Garth Nix) and Melina Marchetta is definitely on that list. She is quickly becoming one of those "must read everything they write" authors for me.

Francesca is used to her somewhat overbearing mom Mia starting the day with a feel good song and a pep talk and encouraging Francesca to chase her dreams and stand up to the man. But one day Francesca's mom doesn't get out of bed. That one day turns into two which turns into four which turns into months and Francesca's life is turned upside down. Although Francesca liked to complain about her mom controlling her life and trying to turn her into a mini version of herself, when her mom is hit with a bout of severe depression and cannot continue running the house and family, Francesca doesn't know how they'll survive. No one knows how to help her mom and they all blame each other. Their once very close-knit family starts falling apart at the seams. On top of it all Francesca is in a new school (one of the few girls in a former all-boys school) with no friends and confusing feelings for her new male classmates.

There is something about Marchetta's writing that just pulls me in and makes me forget everything else. She has the unique ability to make me sympathize and become each of her characters. While Francesca is definitely the main character and protagonist, I also felt myself drawn to her mother and putting myself in her shoes as well. It's a mark of good writing when the reader can understand everybody's perceptions and motivations. It's a hard book to read because of FEELINGS, but so very worth it. It's a good look at depression and what happens when someone who is always doing the "taking care of" and "fixing" needs to be taken care of and fixed. There isn't a simple fix to Mia's depression, but with a little time and patience, Francesca discovers just listening can go a long way. I truly enjoyed this book for both teens and adult fans of YA literature.

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