Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Blurb: Andi is broken. She is failing school and failing life. Since the death of her brother, all she cares about is music. Taken to Paris by her estranged father, she makes a discovery there that could transform everything. Hidden in the compartment of an old guitar case is a lost diary from Revolutionary France... Alexandrine is a street performer who is trying to save a young life from the devastation of war. She writes her deepest thoughts in her diary, hoping that one day someone will read them and understand. These two girls, though centuries apart, are tied together by more than just the diary. As its words transcend paper and time, Alexandrine's past becomes Andi's present and lives are changed forever.

What I thought: A copy of this book has been lying on my sister's bedroom floor for years. I picked it up a few times and read the first chapter, but I never read further than that before. A couple of days ago I was bored, so I decided to read the first bit. And then I didn't stop. This book sucked me in, especially the first chapter- one of the best beginnings I can remember reading- you're smacked round the face with Andi's anger at the world, and her pain, and I just couldn't stop reading.
Andi is one of my favorite characters. For some reason, I've always been fascinated by those angry, broken, aggressive characters in books, and the way they heal throughout the story. Andi is very, very broken, to the point of almost committing suicide more than once. She couldn't get past her brother's death, her dad's leaving and her mother's illness. And then, throughout the book, you can see her letting go, letting herself live again, and moving on. But she isn't one of those characters whose anger becomes her, and when it's gone, there's nothing left and all interest they once had is gone. She is stubborn and determined and vibrant.

Another character that really interested me was Andi's father, and how he always seemed to do what was worst for Andi and her mother without even realising it. He doesn't believe in her, he can't see what music is to her, he tries to mold her into the genius he thinks she should be. He tells her she can do anything she wants, and when she wants to do music, he tells her it isn't enough. I don't think he's really a bad person, he just can't see what he's doing to his daughter. He can't see what she's doing to herself.

At the moment, I'm going through a French Revolution phase (A Tale of Two Cities, etc.) and this was perfect for that. I started reading this book because of New York and music and pain and loss, and then I kept reading because of Paris and music and healing and hope. Alex's story was just as enthralling as Andi's. They are very similar, too- determined, stubborn, and angry at the world around them. Near the end, I got annoyed with Andi because I felt she could have done something more, tried to help them, but she didn't. But at the same time, she really did help them. Confusing...
Throughout most of the story, I thought I had the ending figured. I thought the only problem I had with this book would be its predictability, but there wasn't even that, because I got the ending completely wrong. It was nothing like what I thought it would be. Guess I'm not cut out to be a detective after all...

Like most books, there was a romance side to this story, but it didn't take over the whole book. The guy is called Virgil, which is the most amazing name ever, and he's not just some hot boy, thrown in to fill out the story, but lacking his own character. He too, is angry at how his life turned out, angry at the unfairness of it all. He too, is a musician and also a rapper. I know I've always said no spoilers, but I'm going to write the lyrics to some of his, and Andi's songs down here, because they are so beautiful, and because they really sum up the book much better than I can.

Banloser - Virgil (Not the whole song)

Hey ho Banloser
Call me robber, boozer
And substance abuser
Hey ho Banloser
Call me dole-cheating,
Work-beating welfare ruser
I don't want to be no
Bad boy for life
Feeling rife
With the strife
And a knife
In my back
But I'm on the outskirts
Trying not to get hurt
Living in a desert
Of poverty and fear
I try to conform
Do no harm, be the norm
But I can't transform
I can just persevere

Iron Band - Andi

If I had coal and fire
And metal fine and true
I'd make an iron band
An iron band for you
I'd pick up all the pieces
From where they fell that day
Fit them back together
And take the pain away
But I don't have the iron
And I don't have the steel
To wrap around your broken heart
And teach it how to heal
Somewhere in the fire
Somewhere in the pain
I'd find the magic that I need
To make you whole again
I'd make the iron band so strong
I'd make it gleam so bright
I'd fix the things I've broken
I'd turn my wrongs to right
But I don't have the iron
And I don't have the steel
To wrap around your broken heart
Wish I could make it heal
Wish I could make it heal

Rate: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment