Nov 28, 2016

Book Review: Saving Francesca

Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: March 31, 2003
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, 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 of 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.


Francesca Spinelli transferred from her all-girls' school, St. Stella's to St. Sebastian's, because her parents thought it would be convenient for her and her brother to be in the same school now that St. Sebastian is starting to accept female students. Unfortunately for her, the female classmates she had back at St. Stella's weren't the same group who transferred with her to St. Sebastian's. And not only is Francesca trying to adjust to her new life in a new school, she's also trying to find her own person. Things at home aren't looking good with her mom's depression and her dad not knowing what to do.

Melina Marchetta once again delivered a story that gripped my heart. I don't know how she does it but I hope she continues to do it in her upcoming books. I read The Piper's Son first when I should've read Saving Francesca instead. TPS took place years (...? Or maybe just a year. I haven't been keeping track on the EXACT date.) after SF and even if you could still read TPS without the need to read SF because the book could still stand on its own with its story, it's still a nice thing to read SF because it will give you a

Saving Francesca revolves around Francesca finding herself because all her life she has this "picture" of who she is courtesy of her mother and her friends from St. Stella.

I want to be an adjective again.
But I'm a noun. 
A nothing. A nobody. A no one.

I don't know how many times Marchetta's books have hit home (meaning have my feelings in knots). This one really had me because of Francesca's relationship with her mom. I had to send my mom a text message after I finished the book and told her I love her (I'm away from home, that's why). Depression is such an ugly and scary thing. I couldn't even begin to describe it but I've lived through it and I never want to back to that place. Her mom's well-being really tested their family's strength to hold on and I couldn't hold back my tears every time Frankie talks to her mom but her mom isn't the same as before. And it hurts to read when she had to argue with her dad and that time when she ran away.

The depression belongs to all of us. I think the family down the road whose mother was having a baby and they went around the neighborhood saying, "We're pregnant." I want to go around the neighborhood saying, "We're depressed." If my mum can't get out of bed in the morning, all of us feel the same. Her silence has become ours, and it's eating us alive.

I had to give it to Marchetta on how she tackled depression in this book. She clearly put it here that it's not something you get over overnight. It's not something you are prepared for, like Frankie's mom was in high spirits the other day and the next, she didn't have the energy to even get out of bed. Frankie, herself, was even fighting the feeling that she felt like is crawling inside her to take over.

Now on to the lighter side of the story: the friendship between Frankie, Siobhan, Tara, and Justine. 

I am always weak for friendships, especially female friendships. These girls didn't start out as friends and they're all so different from each other that it marvels you how they got along and formed this beautiful bond that will likely last a lifetime.

I think I'm a bit in love with these girls. They make me feel giddy. Like I haven't a care in the world. Like I'm fearless.
Like I'm used to be.

And I just have to add these three guys: Will Trombal, Thomas Mackee, and Jimmy Hailler. Bless them and their existence because they also play a big part in this book and I have come to love all of them.

This was honestly so heartwarming and bittersweet with a side of romantic and funny. Another great read from Melina Marchetta that is bound to land in my reread shelf.



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