Cover image for A girl in three parts : a novel
Title:
A girl in three parts : a novel
ISBN:
9781984851079

9781984851086
Edition:
1st U.S. ed.
Physical Description:
316 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
Allegra Elsom is caught in the middle. Some days she's eleven, and others she feels closer to nineteen. Some days she knows too much, and others she feels hopelessly naive. Some days she is split in three, torn between conflicting loyalties to her grandmothers, Matilde and Joy, and her father Rick, none of whom can stand to be in a room together since the decades-old tragedy that hit their family like a wrecking ball. Allegra struggles to make peace in her family and navigate the social gauntlet at school while asking bigger questions about her place in the world: What does it mean to be "liberated"? What is it about "becoming a woman" that earns her a slap in the face? What does it mean to do the right thing, when everyone around her defines it differently? As the feminist movement reshapes her Sydney suburb, Allegra makes her own path, discovering firsthand the incredible ways that women can support each other, and finding strength within herself to stand up to the people she loves.
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Stillwater Public Library2On Order

Summary

Summary

A story of sisterhood, solidarity, and finding your place in a changing world, A GIRL IN THREE PARTS is part Eighth Grade, part Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood , and entirely original.

Allegra Elsom is caught in the middle. Some days she's eleven, and others she feels closer to nineteen. Some days she knows too much, and others she feels hopelessly naive. Some days she is split in three, torn between conflicting loyalties to her grandmothers, Matilde and Joy, and her father, Rick--none of whom can stand to be in a room together since the decades-old tragedy that hit their family like a wrecking ball.

Allegra struggles to make peace in her family and navigate the social gauntlet at school while asking bigger questions about her place in the world: What does it mean to be "liberated"? What is it about "becoming a woman" that earns her a slap in the face? What does it mean to do the right thing, when everyone around her defines it differently?

As the feminist movement reshapes her Sydney suburb, Allegra makes her own path--discovering firsthand the incredible ways that women can support each other, and finding strength within herself to stand up to the people she loves.

Readers will not soon forget Suzanne Daniel's poignant debut, or the spirit of sisterhood that sings out from its pages.


Author Notes

Suzanne Daniel has worked as a journalist for ABC-TV and The Sydney Morning Herald , in communications roles for the United Nations and BBC London, and in crisis management with Hill & Knowlton. She currently holds directorships with several public and philanthropic boards. She lives with her husband and their three children in Sydney. This is her first novel.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--Originally published as a work of general fiction in Australia and New Zealand, Daniel's debut novel is repackaged for a young adult audience in Canada and the U.S. Eleven-year-old Allegra has spent her whole life surrounded by a family in the midst of its personal Cold War following an unspoken tragedy that tore them apart. Her two grandmothers, Matilde and Joy, are next-door neighbors yet barely acknowledge each other's existence. Meanwhile, her father, Rick, lives just above the garage and takes a backseat role in the family. As Allegra navigates pre-teen life in her Sydney suburb, different versions of what is true about the past come to the surface and shatter the last frail ties holding the family together. This novel is a quiet yet sincere story that slowly builds to its climax as its young narrator comes of age. Reading this story is like getting to know a real, albeit dysfunctional, family. They are flawed and sometimes slow to forgive themselves and each other, yet at their core they love and want to protect one another. Set in 1970s Australia, the novel is heavily influenced by second-wave feminism, and themes surrounding domestic abuse, abortion, and gender relations are central to the events of the plot. Daniel weaves these themes in naturally to ultimately produce a family-centered story with emotional depth. VERDICT Although it is a captivating debut, this novel may resonate more with an adult audience than with teens and would be a better purchase for a general fiction collection in libraries.--Lauren Hathaway, University of British Columbia


Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in the early 1970s in a Sydney, Australia suburb, this emotionally nuanced coming-of-age tale follows Allegra Elsom for a year and a half beginning at age 11, as she begins to question why the three devoted adults raising her seem to hate each other. Allegra lives with practical Matilde, her deceased mother's mother, a Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivor who nourishes Allegra with homegrown food and keeps her on a strict study schedule. Next door, her paternal grandmother, artistic Joy, who is Catholic, collects her own tears in labeled glass bottles, grows a garden to delight the senses, and urges Allegra to "decide your own course and steer your own ship." In a nearby apartment lives her father Rick, a gentle carpenter and surfer, who has ceded parental authority. Daniel's debut paints the family's drama against a vivid backdrop of the 1970s feminist movement, as seamstress Matilde gets castigated for strikebreaking, and domestic violence and a botched abortion have lasting ramifications for the community. Daniel unpacks the psychological cost of family secrets through Allegra's compelling narrative voice, which deftly captures the awkward transition into teendom and empowerment. Ages 12--up. (Apr.)


Kirkus Review

Eleven-and-a-half-year-old Allegra is divided by a family at odds with each other.Allegra's mum died when she was 3, but she doesn't know what caused her death or why it made her family stop speaking to each other. She just knows that they each love her differently, and she feels split in three ways trying to maintain relationships with each of them. Allegra lives at Number 23 with her Hungarian Jewish grandmother, Matilde, who is haunted by memories of the war and who runs a strict household. With Matilde she is Allegra. Her father, Rick, takes her surfing, and they have a good time together. But for reasons she doesn't understand, he lives in the flat above Matilde's garage; with him she's Al Pal. Next door, at Number 25, lives her passionate Catholic grandmother, Joy, to whom she is Ally. When Allegra helps a friend and things go awry, their family secrets must be confronted. Set in 1970s Australia at the cusp of a cultural revolution, this is both a story of self-discovery and one of family healing. Debut author Daniel's strength lies in the creation of complex characters; Allegra in particular operates from a sheltered existence and makes decisions, judgments, and mistakes in an authenticand, at times, painfulway. Most characters are white except Allegra's best friend and her mother, who are Indigenous.An emotionally moving portrayal of the effects grief has on a family. (Historical fiction. 12-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Allegra is 11 and a half years old and already knows that adults are complicated. Her grandmothers, Matilde and Joy, are next-door neighbors but never speak. Rick, Ally's dad, lives in the flat above Matilde's garage. They all love Ally, and Ally loves them, but sometimes that isn't enough. As we follow Ally through the end of sixth grade and into high school, the dramas between the adults in her family slowly unravel, revealing the breaking point that brought them to where they are today. All the while, Ally comes to learn more about second-wave feminism through Joy's friends in the Liberty Club, her best-ever friend Patricia's letters about having to run away from Fake Dad, and Lucky Lucinda Lister's bad luck at getting "preggers" and being isolated by her mother. Daniel pulls no punches in this emotional and insightful debut about working through family trauma and owning your power. An excellent choice for those interested in feminism, a bit of mystery, and a lot of heart-wrenching drama.