Lightreads's Reviews > Saving Francesca

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
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Jun 09, 11

bookshelves: fiction, young-adult
Read in June, 2011

Oh, little book! Sweet, painful, truehearted little book.

I concluded in my review of The Boyfriend List that regular high school shenanigans young adult bores me without zombies or faeries or whatever. I retract that. I submit instead that high school shenanigans bore me (hang on, this really is a different argument).

See, okay, it’s not like I didn’t have high school shenanigans. I went to the dances, I had a crush on my best friend’s boyfriend, I drank wine out of a box and threw up in someone’s bathtub, I went down on a guy without a condom in the backseat of a Buick, I received love letters so serious and so sweet I still read them now and then.

But even at the time, even when all this was happening, I was kind of bored with it. It was – the word I’m trying not to use here is frivolous, because I know there are lots of people who took and take this stuff very seriously, and they have every right to.

But I didn’t, because I had too much other shit going on: living with an alcoholic, eye surgery, epilepsy, a slow burn courtship with suicide. So the high school shenanigans were there, but they were high school problems, and I had . . . people problems.

So my new theory: I’m not bored by high school problems books when they don’t have a fantasy element. I’m bored by high school problems books.

This is not a high school problems book. It’s a people problems book. Francesca’s mother is having a major depressive episode, her family is falling apart, she’s tired, she’s alone, she’s sad. And there are also high school shenanigans. This isn’t a book about big epiphanies and making things better, it’s just a book about making it. It asks, if you lost everyone all at once, would you still be all right, and then says, it’s okay if the answer is no.

There’s this great moment in the middle of the book where Francesca realizes she has friends. Marchetta does it so delicately, so perfectly, and it went right between my ribs. This happened to me – I looked up one day out of a slog of sleeplessness and gray misery and found myself in the middle of a group. Seven of us who ate together and danced together and dated each other and had giant co-ed sleepovers. And I thought, how did that happen? Those kids helped save my life. We had shenanigans, but it wasn’t about that. The shenanigans were just there. It was really about, you know. Friends.

And so is this book.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by jo (new) - added it

jo what a nice review. thank you.


Lightreads I intend to! It's downloading from Audible as we speak.


Lightreads Get some tissues ready. No joke.


Aw, crap. I read on my commutes! On a train! With lots of other people! Who all stare at me because I'm disabled and they're extremely rude!


message 4: by Hayley (new) - added it

Hayley I am going to read this because of your review.


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I second that.


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