Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012 4:25:39 AM
Francesca's having problems.
Well, we all do, but Francesca's really having problems.
First of all, she's in St. Sebastian's, a previously all-male school that has recently become coeducational. Sixteen-year-old Francesca's wry commentary reveals that, "St. Sebastian's pretends it's co-ed by giving us our own toilet." On top of that, her mother won't get out of bed, her new "friends" are feminist Tara, flirtatious Siobhan, and accordion player Justine, and as if that isn't enough, she can't figure out if she likes or hates head of house Will Trombal, whom she describes as, "a stick-in-the-mud moron with no personality."
The characters came alive for me. Francesca's narrative, dryly humorous, honest, and melodramatic, was an accurate description of the crazy feelings I as a teenager experience every day, and the vivid descriptions of the ethnic environment around her drew me in.
Francesca has insecurities that many teenagers have, such as feeling invisible ("I’m frightened to look at myself in the mirror because maybe nothing’s there") and boy trouble ("I can't get the Will Trombal kiss out of my mind. No. 'Kiss' is not the word to describe it. The Will Trombal experience. The Will Trombal extravaganza").
The compelling characters, the elegant prose - if I could speak with Ms. Marchetta one day, I would like to tell her the impression I received of her literary talents was very favorable. She pinned it down - the waterfall of emotions cascading - the unstoppable tears, the miraculous laughter, the strong friendships.
Every day there is at least one petty insecurity that eats me up, be it a test grade, a glance from a friend, a teacher's remark. Francesca beats them - is it her honesty? her passion? her kindness? She flies through the darkness and into the light.
I don't want to be insecure, I don't want to cry when things get rough, and I don't want to be affected by the bad. Sometimes, though, it is not an option - and "Saving Francesca" not only made me realize that it's alright to have these insecurities, but it's possible to overcome them, with a passionate heart and strength of spirit and soundness of mind.
"Saving Francesca" was a book that left an indelible impression on me. Very few books make me cry, but "Saving Francesca" had me bawling within a few chapters. Francesca's compelling point of view led me to understand the book's obvious messages; that life is bittersweet and that you can rise out of the darkness. For any teenager - or anyone, really - that has ever felt lost, this book is for you.