Saving Francesca

Saving FrancescaSaving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's not as if I didn't know that this book was good - it was made pretty clear to me not only by the awards it won but also by endless book recommendations and raving reviews from fellow Goodreaders. AND I actually should have expected it from first hand experience - I loved, loved, loved On the Jellicoe Road.

Still, I'm in awe. How does she do it? How does she take an utterly banal plot - it's the story of a teenage girl during her Junior year in high school and her struggles through social difficulties but, most importantly, through her mother's depression - and makes it a jewel of unforgettable friendships, familial love, pearls of wisdom, deep truths in life that just makes me want to highlight passages, read them countless times to memorize them and make them mine?

Well, it's easy to answer. Through vivid characterization, stunningly beautiful writing and witty amazing dialogues. I mean, the characters ARE truly amazing, every single one of them, down to Mr. Brolin. The story is touching, sad, intelligent, REAL.

As far as writing style is concerned I am going to put Marchetta up there, with Megan McCafferty and her Jessica Darling - which, by the way, kind of reminded me of Francesca at times - among my favorite writers.

The only little mole in this great texture of a book was the choice of surnames for some of the character. I´m Italian, you know. Why would you want to call your protagonist Francesca Spinelli? It means spliff, for god's sake. And Trombal has a suspicious assonance to the slang term for f*ck. Was it intentional?

I hope Australia will give us more of these fabulous writers it's nurturing lately because I am really impressed, not only by Marchetta who beats them all but also by Alison Goodman and Lucy Christopher. Fair dinkum!

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