Tag Archives: teenage

A Small Madness

Dianne Touchell

Allen & Unwin


May 2015


I don’t think I’ve read a book with such intense and compelling emotional momentum since Virginia Euwer Wolff’s Make Lemonade (and that’s going back a bit).
If you want to read an authentically Young Adult book about an unwanted and wilfully denied pregnancy, with a vividly harrowing outcome, then this is that book.
Except in the rawness of its engagement with the reader, it is very different from the novel I compared it with above. Touchell writes as an unfashionable ominiscient all-observing narrator. Her writing is flawless and often verbally exciting in the best poetic sense. But the language is always being used for dramatic purpose, not for decoration. It conveys mood, atmosphere and character.
I could ‘see’ every character in this book extremely vividly.
There are three main characters: The lovers, Rose and Michael, and Rose’s very different friend Liv, who is in some ways the most sympathetic character in the book. But the supporting roles are just as important. Michael’s brother, Tim, and the authoritarian, church-going father. Rose’s mother. Liv’s mother.
It is difficult to write much about the story without giving spoilers – suffice to say that everything that happens is horribly real and believable.
It’s a five-star recommendation for sure.