Review Blog

Mar 11 2010

Anonymity Jones by James Roy

cover image

Random House, 2010. ISBN 9781741664539.
(Ages 13+) Recommended. 16 year old Anonymity Jones is having a hard time. Her father has left home, kicked out by his wife when she found that he had been lying about the conferences he has attended. And she should know, as she was his secretary when he was first married and went on just such a conference, causing his first divorce. When Anonymity visits him, she is very aware that he has become depressed and morose, to a point where his boss gives him some extended leave so that he can 'find himself'.
Anonymity's three friends are sympathetic, but two of them have begun relationships and turn all their attention elsewhere. Tania, the last of her friends to support her also begins to move away; leaving Anonymity alone. When mum has her new boyfriend, John, move in, Anonymity's sister, Raven, moves out, bringing to fruition her dream of living in Europe for 12 months, during her gap year. Anonymity is bereft. She turns for sympathy from her art teacher, Chris Moffatt and has some daydreams about him.
John gives her a new lap top for her art work and one night sits on her bed to talk to her, coming closer than need be. When he caresses her, she kicks him out and tries to let her mother know what is going on, but she takes John's side. Appalled and alone, Anonymity rings her art teacher, and they sit in his car so that she can pour out her worries. Later at school, he asks her to attend an art show and going there, she finds all of her class is there, not just her. Going home, Anonymity takes action. She breaks into John's computer and downloads some of the pictures he has taken of her and her sister, and other girls they have had at their place, as well as some of the photos he has stored. These she places on his NetBook home page.
Next she gathers her passport from her father's desk and goes to the airport after hearing her mother kick John out of the house. As an episode in a girl's life, the story is engrossing and chilling as the two men take advantage of her situation: one through moving in with the girl's mother putting himself in an ideal position to prey upon the girl, and the other, using his position as teacher to aggrandize himself in her eyes, bolstering the girl's naive idea that she is being singled out for his attentions.
Tackling a difficult topic such as child abuse requires a resolution of the problem, so the reader can see that there is a legal and moral consequence of the abuse. I'm sure that in a classroom, discussions will range widely over how to avoid situations such as these as well as the legal consequences of such events, and the places that can be called upon for help if a child finds themselves in the situation portrayed.
Fran Knight

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