09 September 2007

'Rose by any other name' by Maureen McCarthy

Maureen McCarthy read aloud the beginning of this novel to us at the Melbourne Writers Festival and I was hooked. I have devoured this book in a day. I could no longer resist it sitting in that pile next to my bed.

Remembering Young Adulthood
'Rose by any other name' is a novel I would recommend to all older teenagers about how life can get in the way of your plans and sidetrack you. I loved it as I remembered my first year out of school and how I went in every direction other than the clear and planned path. Sometimes the emotional upsets in our life drive us to seek escape from all the good and nurturing things in our life. They build a cranky outer shell that disguises who we really are from both the world and ourselves.

Unconditional Families
I loved this novel as a mother and a daughter. That tension between the mother and daughter that is so prevalent in my own mother/daughter and daughter/mother interactions. It was so realistic and funny and sad. Maureen McCarthy captures beautifully the pleasures and trails of belonging to a close family.

Sprinkled throughout the novel are rants about the things Rose hates, that she has published in a music magazine. My favourite:

"Don'tch just hate it... when you find out the all your dirty secrets are public knowledge? You go around thinking your life is private, that no one knows your business. Well, I'm here to tell you, you millions of multi-talented, meat-eating, hoodwinked, rock-loving Saucers, that not only do the banks, ASIO, the tax department and the credit companies have all your details on file, more than likely your family knows a lot more about your every move than you do. Yep,that's right! Face it! Your mother reads your diary. Your siblings trawl through your emails. Your friends, hungry for contact with warm-blooded creatures after a day in front of the screen, spread your private confidences like preachers at a religious rally. Don't blame them. Privacy is dead. Get used to it!......"

(pg 266)

And what a relief it is to have all our darkest guilty secrets and pains exposed and accepted. You try to save those close to you from the pain you experience, yet it is the pain of separation from them that is the real sin.

I really adored this novel. It contains so much emotionally; from the freedom and bliss of surfing, the joys of shared music taste, the intimacy of best girlfriends and sisters, the pain of betrayal, the vulnerability of being in love, the deep pain and anger of our most important people falling to human status, the discovery of loving the wrong person to the myriad of interactions that occur in relationships. It is a full and juicy novel.


Kat said...

Joh I really admire your dedication to blogging regularly. I reckon it'l b a really beautiful and inspirational gift for your grandchildren.

on another note: I'm absolutely loving k.d. lang right now -I only hav hymns of the 49th parallel but it's utterly gorgeous.

Joh said...

Enjoy the music! 2 weeks to holidays now!! You'd be just about finished:-) Ahh summer holidays for you, long, summery and yummy.

Loz said...

Hi Joh - I'll make sure I look the book up. And I've linked you to two of my blogs so I'll be back regularly.

Joh said...

Thanks Loz, look forward to seeing you.