Monday, August 18, 2014

Aussie Review: Raincheck on Timbuktu by Kirsten Murphy

Raincheck on Timbuktu by Kirsten Murphy
Published: August 31, 2001
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Lucy has her life all planned out -

* perfect job at 21
* engaged to ideal man at 26
* married at 27 and a half
* building ideal home at 28 (fully equipped with a stereo surround-sound wide screen TV and a comfortable, yet stylish couch)
* birth of perfect daughter at 30

What does not neatly fit into her organised life is a mother with a bombshell, an ex-best friend with an unfortunate liking for low-life boyfriends, a series of badly dressed, metallic-eyeshadowed teachers and a (very) friendly boy next door.
My Thoughts
“There’s a line that separates being a teenager from being an adult. I’ve been teetering on the edge of it for a while. The beauty of it is that up until now, I’ve been able to be an adult when I’ve wanted to be and a teenager when it’s easier. It would be easier to be that teenager now, but I can’t…”

First and foremost, I want to thank my long-time reading buddy Janina for sending me Raincheck on Timbuktu all the way from Germany. This book has been on my wish list for over two years now, and I am extremely grateful for the reading friends I’ve made here on Goodreads that go out of their way to satisfy my cravings. So, thank you… THANK.YOU Janina for sending me this gem of an Aussie book!!

Now, it’s no surprise for those that know my reading preferences to share that I have a soft spot in my heart for Aussie YA. I’ve said this so many times, but it bears repeating… there’s just something about the realism and profound yet ordinary observations that I often find in these books that lend for a magical reading adventure. I find that many Aussies have this talent. They take the most ordinary of circumstances and thoughts, and weave them into a string of fictional musings that despite how basic or commonplace, I simply can’t help but connect to the moment and revelation. I mean, quite often it’s nothing groundbreaking… it’s just ordinary life… ordinary thoughts… ordinary observations that create that connection for me every time I read books in this genre.

"I do go for that ‘believe in yourself’ stuff to a point. But I don’t know why, it’s much easier to believe when someone tells you that you have a reason to believe – or that you don’t. People don’t realize the power that they have over other people’s lives. You’ll always believe someone else before yourself."

When I read these passages, I find myself stopping and contemplating what the author is conveying, and I love those moments of reflection.

Raincheck on Timbuktu is no exception. This story introduces us to the narrator who is an Australian student in year 11 of her studies. She shares her life through letters to one of her best friends and journal entries she’s keeping for a class. In her story, there’s her mum, dad, brother, grandmother, a boy next door, four friends, an enemy, and a school coordinator that fill her life with every day mid-teen crisis moments. There are many that might find Lucy self-absorbed and at times a bit testy, but she knows that almost to a fault. But most importantly, she realizes that the worries on her shoulders pale in comparison to what’s happening in the world, and she appreciates the luxury of reveling her in teenage crises. What I loved most was the character development I witnessed throughout her narration. Lucy knows that she is at that age where anything is possible. She admits her faults and apologizes for her mis-steps. There’s without a doubt true growth in this character, and it was a pleasure to experience her journey.

Aside from the main character, I have to applaud Kirsten Murphy for her flawless secondary characters. I loved how she weaved Lucy’s friends Krista, Sophie Meg, as well as Kate that is studying abroad in Canada. They added a whole new level of perspective on the troubles and struggles girls go through at their age. Another note-worthy character was Nick. What a gem! I loved his unassuming approach from beginning to end. All of these characters played their part to perfection, and it was a pleasure to meet them!

Overall, I’m thankful I had the opportunity to read this book that is truly hard to come by. It was a story with heart, meaning and focus that despite the ordinariness of the plot, I connected to the characters in a way that I wish I could meet them in real-life. Great story!
4 Snowflakes

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