Review Blog

Aug 31 2017

Beautiful mess by Claire Christian

cover image

Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925498547
(Age: Adolescent - Adult) Recommended. Winner of the Text Prize, this is the story of Ava and Gideon, adolescents who live in their own worlds because the outside world is not one with which they can easily identify, or indeed like. Both struggle at school to cope with the world that ignores those who need help and the intense self-interest that defines so many people. Finding an honest friend like themselves is a source of great comfort to each of them.
Coming from families that are different, Ava and Gideon are able to form a bond that gives each of them the support that the outside world just cannot give. Ava cannot forget her friend whom she says 'didn't take a fall' but rather is 'dead', and is angered as to why won't people say this! The fact that people won't face this truth, and state the truth, consumes her and she feels alienated.
Gideon has two mums, and he is loved, but he is an adolescent, a questioner and a deep thinker, scared of life and anxious about many things, but not the love of his mums. He is able to express himself well with few people but begins to be more open as his relationship with Ava develops. Even though their relationship was supportive and loving, her grief for her friend, Kelly, who suicided, is too consuming and she feels unable to spend time with Gideon any more.
These complex intelligent young people speak to the world of the angst of adolescence, of their fear of facing adulthood, of their grief for lost friends, and of their anger at the world for its unfairness. Christian's writing is compelling, her subjects topical, her characters vivid, their lives touched by the maelstrom of adolescence and their dawning awareness of the world. A beautifully written novel, moving and truthful. A compelling read, suitable and recommended for adolescent readers. Highly recommended for adults.
Elizabeth Bondar

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