Not to to be effusive or anything, but this is the book that began my love affair with Melina Marchetta’s books. Saving Francesca
doesn’t have vampires or werewolves or kick-arse heroines. It’s about a bunch of teenagers on the brink of adulthood coming to terms with who they really are and attempting to define the foundations of their lives.
The backdrop for Francesca’s year of catharsis is St Sebastian’s, where Marchetta seems to have distilled her experiences as a Catholic school teacher to produce teachers, students, activities and attitudes that, I daresay, anyone who ever went to a co-ed Catholic school in Sydney will find familiar.
The story is narrated in the first person, and there’s a sense in which Francesca kind of lives in her own head, but Marchetta surrounds her with a cast of supporting characters who, although they touch on some stereotypes, are complicated, individual and just so damn interesting
--including the adults.
Saving Francesca encapsulates everything I love about Melina Marchetta’s books. Her young characters are passionate, mercurial, unrestrained, vulnerable, compassionate and defiant. Despite her characters’ missteps and conflicts, Marchetta conveys an underlying sense of optimism about the younger generation and confidence in their resilience.
If you only read one Melina Marchetta book, read this one.You can read my full review at Book Thingo.