Title: Looking for Alibrandi Author: Melina Marchetta Publisher: Knopf Books Date Published: October 5, 1992 Buy: Amazon
For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter—but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.
Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past—and the year she sets herself free.
There are spoilers in this review
So yesterday after possibly reading one of the best fantasy novels (The Princess Bride), I kind of wanted to cool off. I wanted to read something on the realistic side, not a chic lit, I wasn’t in the mood for those. Then I remembered this. Right after reading Saving Francesca I kind of stalked the rest of Melina Marchetta’s books. I remembered seeing this but the reviews left me with mixed feelings, most people said that this wasn’t the best of her works but it also happened to be her debut novel. I didn’t add this to my to-read list because well I kind of forgot to, but since it was a Marchetta book it did remain in the back of my mind.
So yesterday I realized what I needed was a Marchetta book, I knew I couldn’t read The Piper’s Son without being emotionally drained so I picked this one up instead. It seemed like it was going to be a light read, and it was. What I don’t understand is why people feel this is main stream stuff. This was written back in 1992, are you calling something written back then main stream, it’s become main stream now but that’s beside the point.
It’s funny how that despite the fact that Realistic Fiction is not my thing, one of my favorite authors writes them. Of course Marchetta also writes fantasy but I prefer her realistic fiction books.
I feel like each of the main characters are my twins. I find myself in every single one of them, from Taylor to Francesca to Josie. In Josie’s case I understand how it is to feel different and I love how this book is her journey of discovering herself, there are no other complications, just her journey to finally realizing stuff and finally accepting herself for who she is.
Marchetta’s books help me on my own journey, I am still heading towards the ultimate goal but for me things have changed a lot in the past 2 years. I remember how Josie, near the end of the book states that she isn’t as ambitious as she used to be. This makes me feel a lot better because that’s exactly how I feel and it makes me think that everything will be okay in the long run and that there is nothing wrong with me.
I loved John’s character in this book. I always knew what was going to happen to him, the signs were there but it still hurt me. What hurt me more was that Josie could see this but denied it because it scared her. I by no means hate her for not seeing what was in front of her but it still hurt. I understand why she didn’t because for her, John was a rock and someone to look up to, if everything was okay for him and he could survive so could she. To imagine that he couldn’t hang on was too much, if he couldn’t do it with all his advantages where did that leave her? I also understand why John did what he did, I suppose most people will be annoyed and say that he had a choice, now I am not saying he didn’t have one but his choice was a lot harder than most. It wasn’t an easy one, he didn’t know what he wanted and he didn’t want to live for his father, he wanted to find out what he wanted on his own, to have his own journey but his father wouldn’t loosen the grip and emotionally abused him if he didn’t perform well. If he decided he didn’t want to live for his father he would be disowned, so he did what he thought was good.
Jacob is a rather interesting character, there is quite a bit of him in the book but the book isn’t about her falling in love so the focus isn’t on their relationship but instead is on how their relationship affects Josie. This leaves us with almost no information about him as a person. We know that he can think deep when he wants to but he also goofs around. We know that he is a rebel of sorts but there isn’t anything particular he is rebelling against. What makes me happy though is that his relationship with Josie also changes him, in the end we see that how he feels the need to actually make something of his life and not to just tag along.
The ending may leave quite a bit of readers disappointed, in any other circumstance I would have been PISSED, but Marchetta made it work. There are tons of things that aren’t resolved but they aren’t mean to be. Changes in life come very slowly and things cannot completely turn around within an year.
I think her way of ending the book is perfect because it leaves hope but it doesn’t make you think that there will be bad stuff in the future for Josie, you know with open endings you are always thinking about the “What If”, everything I imagined that took place after this book was a pleasant.
I believe that Michael and Christina will get together, not because I want them to (well I do) but because it just seems like the way things will work out.
I think Josie will help improve the relationship between Christina and Nona and Nona will tell Christina the truth on her own terms.
I also think Jacob and Josie will get back together because I agree that they need time to figure things out. It’s obvious they have feelings for each other but now it’s time for Jacob to figure out what he wants from life even though Josie is all set.
I wish the book was longer but I am not disappointed, I love this book and nothing can change that (unless the author claims they all die in a car crash.. well then I may dislike the book).