18 Jun 2015

Throwback Thursday: Looking for Alibrandi

Throwback Thursday is (supposed to be!) a weekly feature where I highlight an older book, whether that be a childhood favourite that brings back memories or a hidden gem that I feel deserves some recognition.
I can't remember the first time I read Looking for Alibrandi, but I know once I found it... it was one of those books that I kept borrowing from the library and rereading again and again and again until I bought my own copy. It is, in my mind, iconic.

Synopsis (from GR): 'And what's this about you and your friends driving around Bondi Junction half-dressed last week?'

'Who told you that?'

'Signora Formosa saw you. She said you and your friends almost ran her over. She rang Zia Patrizia's next-door neighborhood and it got back to Nonna.'

Telecom would go broke if it weren't for the Italians.

Josephine Alibrandi is seventeen, illegitimate, and in her final year at a wealthy Catholic school. This is the year her father comes back into her life, the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family's past and the year she sets herself free.

I'll run one day. Run from my life. To be free and think for myself. Not as an Australia and not as an Italian and not as an in between. I'll run to be emancipated.

I love everything about this book, from its opening scene to its beautifully drawn characters to its reminder that what works for everybody else may not work for you. I've learnt many life lessons from this book - most importantly, "... we vote not to get the best party in, but to keep the worst party out." Marchetta is a born story teller, and it is because of this book that I keep reading her stories - because I know that she can tell beautiful stories about belonging, about family, about finding your place in the world; because I know that she will create wonderful characters with whom you will share great joy and plummet to the depths of despair and feel every emotion in between; because I know that her stories will leave an impression on you long after you've finished. She's one of the great authors of Australian literature, and I will follow her no matter the genre. 

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