A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760110789
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. This book is impossible to put down. This novel tackles the issues of teen pregnancy and the power of denial. Each character in this novel is etched in detail - being both believable and raw.
Rose and Michael are in love. Their families think the best of them. They are regarded as the 'good kids'. Liv (Rose's friend from the first day of school) comes from a more permissive family. Liv called Rose a late starter.
'Rose didn't tell anyone about it. She wondered if it showed. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned this way and then that way.'
Be prepared for an emotional journey as the powerful writing has you confronted by the ways Rose, Michael and Rose's mother deny the undeniable.
'Liv's mother had a saying: no good deed goes unpunished.' Liv, in trying to help Rose and Michael face the reality of their situation, becomes ostracised and yet is the person able to manage a tragic and life threatening situation at the end of the novel.
This novel deals with shade of grey in relationships. It challenges the reader to consider if Rose is indeed a monster or is experiencing a small kind of madness. Is Rose's mother (Violet) also experiencing this madness or is she negligent as a parent?
Linda Guthrie