Review Blog

Sep 08 2010

Sugar Sugar by Carole Wilkinson

cover image

Black Dog, 2010. ISBN: 978 1742031200.
Recommended for ages 14 and up. When Jackie leaves Australia, she heads to London, with dreams of becoming involved in the fashion industry. Her decision to spend a weekend in Paris, sharing her portfolio with a clothing designer goes awry and she, instead, accidentally embarks on a journey along the Hippy Trail. En route, she meets a variety of characters and makes some new friends, travelling by bus, Citroen and London taxi through some decidedly seedy areas. Following the BIT guide, she and her new friends make their way to different countries, often choosing their path based on the roll of the dice. The somewhat 'uptight' Jackie goes through a major metamorphosis as a result of her adventure and begins to question her motivation, dreams and abilities.
This is Wilkinson's first foray into the coming of age novel and, the fact that she has set the story in 1972, makes it rather more interesting. It is certainly a young adult novel as sex and experiences with psychedelic drugs are integrated amongst the themes of friendship, romance, adventure and the concept of chasing one's dreams. Interestingly, Jackie's childhood home was in Adelaide and, it would appear from her biography that Wilkinson grew up in a similar area. Music of the time is an important part of the story and may well encourage younger readers to go on to investigate some of the references scattered throughout the narrative. Character development was sufficient for the reader to develop a 'relationship' with the main protagonists and feel sympathetic toward Dolf. This was an easily read, thoroughly entertaining tale of freedom and adventure, especially for younger readers wishing to head off to experience their own quests for independence and excitement.
Jo Schenkel

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