Becoming Bindy Mackenzie

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Jaclyn Moriarty
Macmillan Children's Books
0330438840
May 2006
�So, basically, we read your whole life story, Bindy, and PLEASE DON�T BE MAD. We felt guilty, but you say in the introduction that it�s a FAD assignment, so we are actually FAD. We ARE your life raft, Bindy, so we thought the LIFE raft should read the LIFE story. In case it would help with all those issues you were telling us about tonight.�

Think of the laughs with Louise Rennison� think of the angst in Jacqueline Wilson, then� think again! Jaclyn Moriarty is endowed with an all-too-rare ability not only to write convincingly using the voices of teenagers with their curious mix of laconic wit and personal anguish, but also to weave around this devilish plots that keeps readers caught dually between delight and deduction�

Alarmingly intelligent and precocious in the extreme, Bindy Mackenzie is seen as something of a fearsome individual by her peers. Readers of Jaclyn�s first two novels for teenagers �Feeling Sorry for Celia� and �Finding Cassie Crazy� will be familiar with the setting, Ashbury High and will find herein a number of old friends from these novels.

Bindy�s story is told in the form of memos on personal stationery that Bindy herself has created, e-mails to her mother and father and numerous other epistolary forms. Looking at the type of response Bindy receives from her parents makes one realise the crushing importance of communication between parents and child and the lack of meaningful interaction that modern ICT methods provide as a substitute for one-on-one attention.

Under the instruction of one Try Montaine, a seemingly liberal, left-wing teacher, Ashbury High has developed a new strand of study skill session called �Friendship and Development� (FAD for short). Initially sceptical of the lessons, Bindy writes several acerbic letters to the director of the Office of the board of studies, complaining that FAD distracts her from her studies.

FAD, however, is not all that it seems and is a clever subterfuge behind which a fiendish attempt on Bindy�s life is being made. In spite of this, the classes develop in Bindy and her classmates a real sense of union, care and understanding as each member of the group communicates themselves more fully and openly.

�Becoming Bindy Mackenzie� is life-affirming and touching without falling into the swampish grounds of sentimentality and didacticism. Jaclyn Moriarty has a wonderfully light, butterfly-touch that enables the consideration of deep and profound issues alongside points where the narrative flair is so witty that the book becomes almost too heavy to hold whilst laughing so loudly. This is a rollicking rollercoaster ride for the emotions, revel in it!



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This page contains a single entry by Jacob published on July 11, 2006 12:38 PM.

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