Monday 19 September 2011

REVIEW - 'So Much To Tell You', John Marsden (Hachette Australia, 1987, this edition published 2006)

A young girl with trauma in her recent history starts afresh at a new boarding school. Unable to speak to her teachers, doctors or peers, she begins to confide in her journal...
Another week, another John Marsden novel to attach to my person until every page has been devoured. And this is the best one yet. Am I right in thinking this was his debut? If so, my god... In the last year, with all the edgy YA I've been sifting through, I've become used to my heart being broken and my emotions being ripped to shreds on a weekly basis, but this one really takes the prize. How on earth can he pack so much angst and beauty into such a small book?

At first, our narrator appears to be a painfully shy new girl, apparently invisible to her classmates, just an observer with maybe a few more issues than your average fifteen-year-old. What we do learn, as her story is carefully drawn out, is that she is far from invisible.

Th journal structure allows the author to achieve the honesty and the immediacy that I associate with great YA. Even the supporting characters are so well-rounded and believable - in just a few lines, a girl that could have easily taken the role of the standard, one-dimensional bully, becomes a complex individual that you begin to care about.

We never get the full story and there are no tidy conclusions or easy answers here. And that's as it should be. Just brace yourself for the ending...

Even thought this was written nearly twenty-five years ago, apart from the occasional reference to cassettes and tape recorders, this feels fresh and relevant. Vital, even. I just wish I'd read it when I was fourteen.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds as though you enjoyed this one a lot more than I did! I can't even put my finger on what I didn't like about it.. maybe it's just that I didn't love it? Sometimes it's hard for me to tell these things :)