Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

I've been wanting to read Saving Francesca for a long time. It's been on my to-read list for at least 3 months now. So I wonder why I didn't pick it up earlier when it's such a unique, refreshing read. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
4.5 out of 5 stars
Out and out
Summary from Goodreads: Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that's pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, along, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

I love the uniqueness of Saving Francesca. There's a feminist, a so-called slut and a piano accordion player. There's an alphabet burper, a nonstop talker and Will. They are not normal. You will not find them anywhere else. And that's the magic of it. Just like life has its interesting bits, school has interesting people. These characters are all so vibrant and cool. They grow on you. I now love them all.

Some people might call them weird, but I think they're more than weird. They're amazing. The beauty of it all is that they make you smile. It makes you happy.

Saving Francesca isn't just your fluffy chick-lit book. It's not just your book about a girl and a boy. It's about more. There's a girl (Francesca) whose life has been taken over by her mother. But when her mother falls into depression, she (Francesca) is lost. She has to get on with life, or rather find herself one. She has to find herself, or at least create an identity. She has to live. It's a deep book about identity.

Melina Marchetta has this way to get the reader to relate with Francesca. Okay, so maybe she's unsure of who she is or who she wants to be, but that's not the point. The point is that the reader finds themself understanding her situation. The reader finds him or herself being moved by her situation. Such is the writing of Melina Marchetta. It's powerful, invigorating stuff that can't be ignored. It's stuff that changes perspectives, views and looks. It's unforgettable.
But somehow, she manages to slip in humor and lighter stuff too. I wonder how she does it.

Saving Francesca made me smile, and it will make you smile too.

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