Review Blog

Jul 30 2008

Finding Darcy by Sue Lawson

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2008. ISBN 978174203023 4
$18.95. 278p
(Age 11+) A different slant on the war theme, Finding Darcy shows a year 10 girl, at first very resistant to the idea of researching information about her long dead great grandfather, and then gradually becoming more intrigued, ever mindful of the cold reception received from her grandmothers when approaching that subject.

Sent to live with her grandmother and great grandmother, when her mum goes off to Melbourne to complete a 3 month retraining course, Darcy is at first horrified at having to live with these two old women, set in their ways and impervious to any modern ideas. Darcy is reprimanded at every opportunity, told when to shower, how to eat, given a list of chores to do around the house, and restricted in her use of the phone. Her privacy is invaded, friends restricted, and her life becomes dreary. She is alienated from all those things which teens accept today as must haves, a mobile phone, computer, freedom to come and go as she wishes, friends who drop in, and a loving family to be with. She snaps at her friends, becomes more sensitive to the teasing of a small group within her class, and all the while rebels at any attempt by her teacher to help her with her project.

Sue Lawson captures the voice of this young woman perfectly, with her snide remarks, arguments with her mother, relationship with others at her school and particularly her changing view of the two women she is living with. All is most credible. At first I sighed at reading another angsty story told in the first person, but it took only a few pages to become deeply absorbed with Darcy's plight. This book is a wonderfully inventive tale of a little known campaign in our Pacific war history, and the means by which it is told is sure to entice middle school readers. And along the way the story underlines research techniques and information sharing which students now must be capable of doing to a high level to be successful.
Fran Knight

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