Top positive review
12 people found this helpful
Looking for Alibrandi
on April 4, 2003
For as long as she can remember, seventeen year old Josephine Alibrandi has believed her life to be anything but fortunate. Born to a single impecunious mother from a strong Italian background, Josie has never met her father and doesn't fit in at her elitist Sydney Catholic school on account of her scholarship and inability to conform. She also refuses to embrace any part of her heritage, including her grandmother. However, to make her existence even more of a nightmare, she is constantly reminded of these factors by arch- nemesis "Poison Ivy." Not only is Ivy her superior as school captain, but she is also after the charming, white-collar, extremely wealthy, John Barton. The very same man Josie believes she is destined to be with.
Just when Josie thinks her life couldn't possibly become anymore convoluted, she is finding herself more and more attracted to blue-collar bad boy Jacob Coote. And what does her fathers reappearance after a seventeen year absence mean for her? Not to mention having to bear the burden of a thirty five year old secret, her Nona's been keeping, after mistakenly stumbling across it. Will this new information threaten to make her feel more estranged from both her family and heritage than she already does, or will it bring her closer to them. And will she be strong enough to cope when tragedy strikes so close to home? That is all of course without even contemplating the stresses of her upcoming HSC.
Set in Australia in the 1990's, this book is a turbulent ride of self-discovery, which deals with themes deemed extremely topical in today's modern teenage society. Not only does Marchetta build realism through creating strength within her characters, she further authenticates them by making their struggles identifiable to a majority of teenagers. She does this by using interrelated themes, such as identity, culture, illegitimacy, sex, single parent families and elitism, to name a few, which ultimately transcend culture. The end product of which, is a novel relevant to teenagers all around the world.
Melina Marchetta's main protagonist Josie, can only be described as awe inspiring, covering new territory that was not seen previously in Australian literature. I love this book for it's rare and honest view of the struggles teenagers face in today's modern world. Josie's complexities as a character, implore the reader to keep going so as to see how she handles each of the perplexing situations which befall her. There is also an enjoyably mix of the dramatic and comedic. This type of honest, identifiable and offbeat, teenage subject matter is to an extent what can be seen as Marchetta's trademark. When also considering the content of her newly released, second novel Saving Francesca, which focuses on a young teenaged girl who finds it hard to cope with the pressures of study, family, friendship and the male school environment, when starting at a newly converted co-ed Sydney private school. "Looking for Alibrandi" is definitely worth reading and has in my experience captured readers of all ages and genders.