Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Local News by Miriam Gershow

This page turner with its brilliantly drawn characters is one of those reads you will think about long after the last page is finished.
The story starts with the disappearance of Danny Pasternak, a popular High School Jock who disappears in somewhat unlikely circumstances and the story takes us along with his 15 year old sister Lydia who is the total opposite of her brother as she traverses with family, friends, relatives and an intrusive media the trajectory that such an event sets in place.
Lydia wasn`t really all that fond of Danny, their relationship could be prickly to say the least and in the wake  of his death Lydia is left feeling under appreciated and unwanted until those she was once ignored by take her up and make her somewhat of a pet, they were Danny`s friends and now their hers but only to a certain degree and really only for their own appeasement, so it doesn`t take much imagining to see the consequences for her of his disappearance, especially as she grapples with the emotional implications of her feelings about Danny.
This is a very believable book, there is no artifice to it, no feeling of fake sentimentality. The author takes you into the chaos that is these peoples lives and propels you along with them. The descriptions can at times be gritty and almost chillingly cold but this is relieved by humour in unexpected places and a lack of entitlement. Each character brings their own agenda and baggage and the consequences of some of their actions and motives is not pretty. I felt that this book had a number of characters that were quirky, odd, somewhat different but there were alot of teens in the mix and I came to appreciate that they were going through their own developmental struggles within the setting of the book and their differences actually gave you greater understanding and added to their realness. The saddest characters I felt were obviously Danny Pasternak`s parents and here the author showed a marvellously deft hand at portraying their disintegration and eventually their ability to move on and live, the fact that they were able to move on from one another and make new lives. I liked the reunion as it took you forward with the characters and it tied up some loose ends.
I couldn`t help but love Lydia and her friend David but I loathed  Bayard, the French exchange student, he really grated on me. All in all a very good read, which highlighted how far the lines have blurred between grief in private and grief in public and the way the media informs how we react to these jarring events in our society.
Available in paperback and from the Library System.

No comments: