Friday, 12 June 2009

Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pub. Date: 5 October 1992
Age Range: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: paperback
Source: from publisher - Penguin Aus

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.

If you're looking for a book that will free you from all your hectic, insane or boring life, I suggest you pick up any works by Melina Marchetta. Simply heartfelt and mind blowing, each and every story will touch your soul and explore a new corner of life you've been unaware of for a really long time. Looking Alibrandi isn't an exception. Written way back in 1992 yet the book still managed to stir such feelings inside me - a teenager in 2009.

When I finished her book Saving Francesca, I thought Melina's writing couldn't get any better. Luckily, I wasn't right. This debut novel of the Australian author is a BOMB, seriously. Raw, realistic and fearless, it delivered a story of a girl who was on her way to figure out what she wanted to, where she belonged and who she really was. In other words, a story on a few years of life, in fact, felt like a lifetime.

The thing I love about this book is that it captures my undivided attention. At first what I asked for was a lovely read to uplift my mood in a gloomy day, but only after a couple of pages all I could think of was Josephine and her complicated but interesting life. Her family, her friends, her love, each held an aura of delight that drawn me deeper and deeper into the book. I just couldn't put it down. Well, I did, for schoolwork but soon afterwards I found myself sneak off to read one or two chapters.

A huge part of Looking For Alibrandi was on how the Italian women dealt with inhabiting in another country where some people just couldn't seem to accept them the way they were, even the Italian themselves. They struggled, they weakly fought, they held back from being happy for fear of what everyone else would think. Josephine, her mother and her grandmother were a few among those poor female. Throughout the ups and downs they discovered a way out to forget the past and live freely, and more importantly, understand each other. If you're in need of a book for different generations in a family, this would be the one. Strong connection of the daughter, mother and grandmother will help dwindle the distance between us and make us realize how much love we have for one another.

Do I have to say how much I root for Josephine? She's so great. She's stronger, tougher and crazier than Francesca but, she's also more confused and self-conscious. Growing up with people around pointing at and giving her names made a huge impact on the girl - she always thought everyone would jugde her and hate her. That, though, didn't make her a lousy or desperate character. Josephine was a likable one, sometimes she was moody and annoying yet other times she was profound and deep. Someone any girl would walk to and say "be my bestfriend." I like her ambition and her sense of humor. Also her fear and selfishness.

It'd be a big mistake not to mention my hero - Jacob. More interaction and conversations between these two would satisfy readers who go for romance. Jacob was a guy who stood in the line separating the goods and the bads. He even won more love from me than Will from Saving Francesca. He was not only unafraid to be himself, truthful and sloppy-in-a-cute-way but also wants to be better for the girl he loves.

Another one with open ending, this book would linger in your mind longer than you expected. Looking For Alibrandi is looking for the inner beautiful and strong woman, looking for the hurtful but unneglectable past, the difficult yet worthwhile present, and for the bright oriented future.

Definitely a novel you CANNOT miss.

Rating: 5/5 (uhm I'm wondering, can I give this book a 6?)


prophecygirl said...

Wow, this sounds amazing! I have to get hold of a copy!

Chicklish said...

prophecygirl, you should, it's brilliant! Great review, Thao, I've loved this book for years!

cupcakewitch said...

I will have to check this out! I never read any books by this author!

Steph Su said...

Wow, nice! I tried reading this a couple years ago but for some reason couldn't get into it at the time... although Marchetta's been on the rise lately and I love love love Saving Francesca, so I'm giving it a reread! Thanks for the awesome review!

debbie said...

awwwwwwwwww ...i'll come to your house and bring all your books to my house =))