Review Blog

Jun 24 2019

Girl running, boy falling by Kate Gordon

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Rhiza Edge, 2018. ISBN: 9781925563528.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Suicide, friends, family, depression. CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers notable 2019. Academic, talented, with the lead in the school musical, good friends and a part time job at Woolworths, it would seem that Tiger has everything a 16 year old girl from a small Tasmanian town could want. However, with absent parents, she feels fragmented, hiding the broken part of herself by filling her days, running from one thing to another, proving herself. Raised by a loving aunt and grandparents, Tiger has been in a tight group of friends since primary school. Best friend Nick Wallace, Wally, a star football player, son of a star football player tragically killed when Wally was three, is expected to be selected to play AFL and leave to play on the mainland. He shares a more sensitive side with Tiger, quoting poetry, making her feel special and she starts to wonder if he will ask her to go with him or if he too will go away. The chapters are interspersed with letters to 'Dear Dad' and later 'Dear Mum' revealing the writer's innermost thoughts, when Wally suicides, the ultimate abandonment, her friends try to help but she pushes them away. With the help of a friend outside her closest circle she gradually comes to terms with her losses and gets help with her grief. The stand out character is her Aunt who is always there for Tiger, sensitively supporting her with unconditional love, willing to wait until Tiger is ready to do what no one else can do for her. The story has a strong sense of place and Aussie flavour with a lot of recognisable references and I like that Grandma's chook shed is a special place. I found friend Melody a bit over the top, 'Sometimes people don't want to live inside a feminist echo chamber' p. 12. also some of the food stereotypes, vegemite sandwiches and steamed buns. There were some characters who seemed as if they would have a role to play but were left behind. A quick read which will be devoured by middle school girls. There are many like books which could be read with this, I enjoyed I had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness.
Teacher's notes are available.
Sue Speck

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