Monday, May 4, 2009

Goldengrove by Francine Prose

Francine Prose has written both for adults and teens. We often ask why a book has been published for teens when it seems clearly adult (although I find this is often code for "but its too good to be wasted on teens") but I don’t think we spend as much time asking why a book has been published for adults, when it could just as easily appeal to teens . The cover, yes, yes, very adult (and by that I mean boring). The story? In my opinion Goldengrove could have just as easily been YA. A sophisticated YA, but YA nonetheless.

Goldengrove chronicles what happens to 13 year old Nico and her parents after their beloved sister/daughter accidentally drowns. It is a heartbreaking, beautifully written story. Nico, seeks out the attentions of her sister’s boyfriend. A relationship clouded by her father’s thought that the boy has a ‘screw loose.’ And whether or not he does, his grief certainly causes him to act in unhealthy and dark, twisted ways. Nico and his growing relationship is not what anyone could label as healthy.

Margaret, even after her death, overshadows the family much as she did when she was alive. Beautiful, artistic, and adventurous, Margaret was adored by her family. After her sudden death everything stops. The book tells us about the summer after, the grief that stops their appetites, drives them away from each other, and then finally the way in which they are able to come back together.

My only complaint is that the ending is a bit sudden – we take almost all of the book to get through one summer and then 3 pages from the end Nico is grown up with children reflecting back. I know we often wonder what happens to a character after the story ends. It just seemed a little unnecessary – I think it stole some of the easy flow out of the story.

No comments: