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Arabelle's Shadows Paperback – November 25, 2012
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About the Author
Fleur Gaskin is from New Zealand. She was an international model for six years, working in over ten countries, mainly in Asia and Europe. She has been in TV commercials, walked on runways and appeared in many magazines including Elle, Marie Claire and Vogue. Fleur suffered from a very serious depression as a teenager. Though she was very sick at times she never stopped fighting her disease. She read a mountain of books, went through years of self-reflection and healing. Fleur will always be sensitive but these days she's surrounded by great people and finally knows that she is loved. She has been living in China for the past seven years. She currently lives in Shanghai with her husband and her two cats.
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Top customer reviews
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This is Arabelle's world and we see it through her eyes. She can be idealistic, self centred, and too trusting; has a blind faith in her ability to succeed as a model but has no faith in herself at all. In other words she is a very believable mixed up girl and young woman trying to cope in high school and then on her own in the superficial world of modelling in countries where she often does not understand the language or the culture. The journal begins in Bangkok in 2004 and finishes in 2005 with journal flash backs to the 1990s when Arabelle was growing up in New Zealand and during her travels as a model. This device allows the pace of the book to be maintained and provides back story and context.
The description of depression is very stark and real. This book may help mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends of teenagers suffering depression to understand the warped thinking, need for unconditional love and inability to ask for help those suffering depression experience. Readers who are themselves sufferers from depression and anxiety may relate to Arabelle's experiences, hopefully find a way to avoid such self destructive behaviour and seek the help they need.
I enjoyed this book, and while it doesn't have the symmetry of a hero's journey or the crafted plot twists or mystery that seasoned authors of adult literature often weave into their stories, it's refreshing in its honesty.
I think teenagers and aspiring or new models would relate to the struggles of life and love. And for anyone, it's a humbling reminder that not everything's as glamorous as it looks from the outside.
The story's underlying thread is about depression. This is surely a semi-autobiographical story, but it's nice to see it in the fiction-genre... Arabelle's Shadows avoids being preachy and is "raw enough" that the main character is relatable. Particularly for a young audience that may just be looking for an outside perspective on the reader's own life struggles.
Notably, for a tale about depression there's still a positive tone, and while there's no magic solutions, the picture painted certainly isn't gloomy.
This book is less focused than the fiction I'm used to, and I'd like to see the author Fleur Gaskin grow her abilities in creating a satisfying story-arc, but for a teen or early twenties audience I think this should be a fitting tale. I would hazard that young female readers will particularly enjoy the chatty tone.
An unpolished gem, interesting and moving. Looking forward to see how Fleur's writing talent progresses!
It claims to be fiction, and in all likelihood events did not occur exactly as written, but Arabelle is clearly a real person. It would be impossible to write this without living it. That makes this an exceedingly brave book that deserves attention and acclaim.
I found it empowering...
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