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Red rage by Brigitte Blobel

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Allen and Unwin, Germany 2007 ISBN 978 1 74175 280 9
(Age 14+) Mara is in serious trouble at school: not passing in work, truanting, leaving school on the slightest whim, and when questioned, flying into an instant rage. One teacher however, believes there is more to Mara than everyone thinks, and puts some trust in her. She finds her a work experience placement at a day care centre. Here Mara relaxes with the children, builds some non threatening relationships with both the children and other staff, and forgets her home life.

But her parents' inability to cope is ever present, influencing what she does and how she behaves. She lives in some squalour with her unemployed resentful father, turning constantly to alcohol for solace and a mother who has become increasingly agoraphobic and at a loss to understand what is going on around her. In the middle of the violence and stupor is Mara and her red rage, now becoming increasingly frequent.
Becoming interested in a boy she sees him with another girl, and her uncontrollable rage takes over with disastrous results. She and the others must endure the consequences of what she has done. How Mara accepts responsibility for her actions forms the crux of the story, ending with a neat moral lesson for all readers. Translated from the German edition, Red rage exposes the story of a troubled youth, circumscribed by the indolence of her parents, given no moral boundaries growing up, causing untold and long term harm with her actions. The teacher's efforts to curb her rage came to nothing, although there is some redemption at the end for readers to hold on to.
Fran Knight


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