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313 pages, Paperback
First published October 5, 1992
The seventeen Janis Ian sang about where one learns the truth. But what she failed to mention is hat you keep learning truths after seventeen, and I want to keep on learning truths till I die.
You know, a wonderful thing happened to me when I reflected back on my year.
"One day" came.
Because I finally understood.
"Believe me, I could write a book about problems. Yet my mother says that as long as we have a roof over our head we have nothing to worry about. Her naivete really scares me."Josie is whip smart, a scholarship student at a fancy private school who dreams about being a lawyer. She's been raised in the loving bosom of her single mother, Christina, who got pregnant at 16, and the suffocating bosom of her grandmother, Nonna Katia, who moved to Australia from Italy at 17. She knows her father is Michael Andretti, the boy next door, but she's never met him. Then one day, Michael Andretti shows up to visit her grandmother. Suddenly, the HSC (High School Certificate), mean girls, and her overbearing Nonna are the least of her problems. And then there's Jacob Coote, the boy from Cook High who caught her attention with a speech about voting and who dances pretty well too.
"No. You can't hate what you're part of. What you are. I resent it most of the time, curse it always, but it'll be part of me till the day I die."This. A thousand times this. I don't think you can sum up the immigrant experience in a few words, but this is pretty damn close.
"I'm not ready for heaven yet and I don't think heaven is ready for me."Josie, the spitfire, reminded me so much of Anne Shirley. They're both dreamers who won't settle for the status quo. Or personal attacks. Slates are nothing compared to modern science books. Jacob Coote, though, is no Gilbert Blythe. Still, Josie's interactions with Jacob, and her decision whether or not to sleep with him, and her regret at said decision, and her regret at her regret were so honest.
“You know something, Jacob, I'd hate to be as smart as John. I mean he was really, really smart, and to be that smart means you know all the answers, and when you know all the answers there's no room for dreaming.”
~Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me this copy!~
I'm beginning to realize that things don't turn out the way you want them to. And sometimes, when they don't, they can turn out just a little bit better.
"I would rather die than ever see you suffering this way. I don't want you or any child I ever have or any woman I ever love to go through or feel what you're going through, but it's happened and I don't know what to do."
"If I could be anything other than what I am, I'd want a tomorrow. If I could be what my father wants me to be, maybe I could stay for that too. If I could be what you want me to be, then I'd want to stay. But I am what I am and all I want is freedom."