Review Blog

Oct 09 2013

The women in black by Madeleine St John

cover image

Text Classics, 2012 (2009). ISBN 9781921922299.
(Age: Secondary). Recommended. Set in the 1950s in Goode's department store, which resembles David Jones, the women in black work in the Ladies Cocktail Frocks department. Lesley has just finished school and is waiting for her results. She re-names herself 'Lisa' to take a temporary job at Goode's during the Christmas rush and New Year sales. Lisa is intelligent and an avid reader. She recommends Anna Karenina to co-worker, Fay, who is searching for a husband but only seems to meet the wrong type of man. The wry humour is generated from the idiosyncrasies of the characters.
Magda, who presides over the high couture gowns, takes Lisa under her wing, benignly exposing her to a more continental lifestyle than Lisa has grown up with on Sydney's north shore. Lisa's changing life is epitomised by the New Year's Eve party at Magda's Mosman home, where she meets Hungarian Miklos (who calls himself Michael) who is her age and seems as Australian as Lisa herself. This chapter could be particularly interesting for English classes because the writing style changes to relate the events of the party. They are told in a breathy rush by Magda, which encapsulates them in time and perspective.
Teen fashionistas will enjoy Lisa's growing appreciation of clothing as art and fans of retro will slip comfortably into Australia's urban past.
Joy Lawn

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
2017 Children's Peace Literature Award Short List
Inkys Awards 2017
2017 Miles Franklin Literary Award
2017 NSW Premier's History Awards
The Queensland Literary Awards 2017
CBCA Awards 2017 winners
Environment Award for Children's Literature 2017
Speech Pathology shortlist 2017
2017 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals
2017 Branford Boase Award
2017 UKLA Book Awards

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates