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Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi
by Melina Marchetta

Looking for Alibrandi

By: Melina Marchetta

Release Date: August 1, 1991

Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary: 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.Told with unmatched depth and humor, this novel—which swept the pool of Australian literary awards and became a major motion picture—is one to laugh through and cry with, to cherish and remember.

During her senior year in a Catholic school in Sydney, Australia, seventeen-year-old Josie meets and must contend with the father she has never known.

 

Review: This book is totally different from Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles, but I can honestly say I am more than impressed with her debut. This book had me laughing so much, and even made me shed a few tears.

Disclaimer on Audiobook: I found I have absolutely NO patience for audiobooks because it takes me three times as long to go through the book, but I needed SOMETHING for my daily commute, and it was in my line of vision at the library. I have yet to say I finished an audiobook (this being my fifth), but for once, it wasn’t because I lost interest it. The book was SO good that after four one-hour trips, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and had finish the print version.

I’m not sure if it was because of Marchetta’s incredible writing or the reader’s ability to bring life into the Australians and Italian characters, but I LOVED this book.

The book felt very real – without the overdramatization of circumstances to pull at the reader’s emotional strings. And for me, personally, I have been through a lot of similar situations that Josephine faced, and I could really relate to a lot of it.

Having said that, Josephine is more than melodramatic. But unlike a lot of snippety, smart alec characters who irritate the hell out of me, Josephine had this sassy charm to her that I just loved. Her theatrics and overexaggerated sarcasm had me grinning and sometimes even laughing out loud.

I adored Jacob from the start, and I admired and sympathized with John. I thought Mama and Nonna were two of the strongest women I have read about, and who wouldn’t love Michael Andretti.

I enjoyed every minute of it – from side stories about Josephine’s friends to the memories from the past. There were a few times I wondered why Marchetta spent so much time telling us these anecdotes, but it was amazing to watch everything come together at the end. The last few chapters were some of the most powerful ones I have ever experienced in a contemporary book.

I oftentimes call similar types of books cliche, which I don’t mind as long as they are entertaining, but this book was far from it. Yes, the book can be predictable. BUT. I would think I had the story all figured out, and then bam, Marchetta hits me with something that totally shakes me. Marchetta had a way of making me guess what would happen, but she totally catches me off guard with it (you’ll understand if you have read the book).

Which is why I am so upset about the end (see my spoiler on Goodreads) – my begrudging half-star criticism. But, as with Quintana of Charyn, I know that the book was best written the way it was because even though (see my spoiler on Goodreads).

But yes, this was a very enjoyable book that had some really great lines – both funny and serious. And so, I leave you with two of the most memorable quotes spoken by Michael Andretti.

Go to Katy’s review on Goodreads.

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