Review Blog

Sep 28 2009

Fire song by Libby Hathorn

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ABC Books, 2009. ISBN 9780733324208.
(Age 11-14) From the first paragraph Libby Hathorn focuses the reader's attention upon the dangers facing the young Ingrid Crowe who carries a burden of responsibility that no young person should have to contend with. Her mother has revealed that she intends to set fire to their home at the end of the day.We discover that Ingrid's father is away for the long term, her two older brothers are being looked after on a farm far from home, and she and her sister Pippa live with a mother who has had little success with a boarding house in a fairly isolated country town. It becomes clear the Ingrid's mother is unable to cope with her situation and makes this terrible decision about the immediate future. She tells Ingrid that she must commit to the plan.
The story covers only a few days but within that time we see the emotional trap that envelopes Ingrid, and we watch in fear as she tries to save all those who are precious around her. She has a strong sense of family, history and the courage required to face daunting circumstances. There are numerous people in the town who would help her but, at what cost? Her family will be further torn apart by this devastating plan.It is all too difficult to contemplate. We become so involved in the young girl's predicament that our journey through the book is full of tension too; we try to anticipate Ingrid's next move.This is a powerful story, well told, with realistic characterisation, but be cautioned, the subject matter may be frightening for the immature reader.
Julie Wells

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