Review Blog

Aug 26 2008

Crossing the line by Dianne Bates

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Ford St Publishing, 2008. ISBN 9781876462703

(Age 14+) When Sophie moves into a share house, it is a new start. She still attends sessions with her psychiatrist, Noel, is checked up by the social worker, Jan, and monitored by her case worker, Marie. But Jan goes overseas, and when things begin to stress her at school and at home, she resorts to her old coping method, cutting herself.

Time in a psychiatric hospital leads her to Helen, her psychiatrist while an inpatient. But Sophie transfers her affections to Helen, and cannot stay away from her, once she returns to her usual life. Once back in her share house, Sophie finds it hard to communicate with her old friends, sleeping a lot, having daydreams while they are talking to her, becoming argumentative when they try to help. Eventually she cuts herself again, after a final rejection from Helen, who she is now stalking. Her flatmates find her and she is patched up once again. It is through the support of her friends that she finally realises that there is life after self harm.

An intriguing look at the motivation of one young person, Crossing the line will have broad appeal to middle secondary readers who have heard about self harm and want to know more. The background is very real, the hospital and sessions with case workers and doctors, frightening as they present a reality not known to many, but the times she spends with her friends is a little hard to believe as I cannot imagine many young people being so sympathetic or understanding. This complex novel will bring information and enlightenment to those who want to know, but it also tells the story of one young woman for whom life has dealt a poor hand. How she copes with all that is thrown at her makes for engrossing reading.
Fran Knight

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