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Question: As one who has read this book how would you rate it?
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Author Topic: Saving Francesca By Melina Marchetta [Teen]  (Read 530 times)
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« on: October 18, 2012, 09:10:10 AM »

Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 9, 2006)
Paperback: 243 pages
ISBN-10: 0375829830
ISBN-13: 978-0375829833

Book Description
Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastians, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas who specializes in musical burping to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

While this book is not specifically written about a teen dealing with a BPD mother it does address much of the affects of mental illness in general on a young girl. Francesca is a complex character and the family dynamics are evident. This book addresses how obscure boundaries can lead to enmeshment and the parentification of a child. The lack of open and honest communication leads to reinforcement of the stigmas of having a mental illness in the family and keeps the entire family from getting well. The father's denial of his wife's mental illness and his pattern of inability to validate his wife and children causes Francesca's low self image to deteriorate further. The turbulent teen years are further taxed for Francesca as she struggles for a sense of significance. Her peers are her only source of validation and her risky behaviors give her a sense of being alive. The slow return to normalcy leaves the reader with a realistic sense of hope.

There are so few resources appropriate for young readers regarding family members with mental illness that this resource is a good standin while the literary world catches up. I would recommend this book for young adults 18-24 because of the permissive tone towards foul language and casual sex.

About the Author
Melina Marchetta lives in Sydney, Australia, and is also the author of Looking for Alibrandi and Jellicoe Road, winner of the Printz award.

Reading level: Ages 12 and up.

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