This review will be brief as I don’t have that much to say about the book. The language, as always, is beautiful, and the relationships are well-drawn. But I feel like most of this operates as a sort of blueprint for Saving Francesca in that some of the same elements are there (foursome of female friends, hyper-intelligent and privileged guy, working class and quietly brilliant guy, etc) though they’re not as well drawn in Looking for Alibrandi.
The novel follows Josephine (Josie) through her senior year of high school and is largely told in episodic vignettes. She learns about her past, connects with some people, loses some people, and finds herself. Standard coming of age novel. The one element that’s different, really, is Marchetta’s exploration of how an ethnic population in Australia (the Italians) constantly bumps up against the “native” or “true” Australians (not Aboriginals, of course, but white Australians who have no real ties to a specific European ancestry).
Anyway, I found this book a lot slower moving and less engaging than Saving Francesca or The Piper’s Son, but I did enjoy Josie’s relationships with her grandmother, mother, and Michael Andretti.
I also think it’s pretty obvious that this is Marchetta’s first book–especially having read her later work. Definitely good for completists, but I’m not entirely sure I would have sought out more of her work with as much fervor if I had read this first.
Oh, so my new thing I’m trying out is tracking books mentioned in other books. So at the end of each post, I’m going to note the books/authors mentioned in a book.
Books Mentioned in This Book: Mr. Galliano’s Circus by Enid Blyton