BOOK REVIEW: Write About Me by Melissa-Jane Pouliot
Write About Me is a young adult story about a teenage runaway. But it isn’t just another YA story about love and boys and heartbreak and it certainly isn’t fantasy.
It is an important story.
Perhaps this seems so important to me because the life of the main character Annabelle and those around her are so close to reality that they could be real people. And in fact, the story is loosely based on the disappearance of the author Melissa-Jane Pouliot’s own cousin, Ursula Dianne Barwick who was last seen on Friday, 14th August 1987.
From within the first few chapters of Write About Me, it is clear to the reader that Annabelle’s mental state is not quite right. She has conversations in her head with ‘Anna’ and ‘Bell’ who are both very controlling and are the ones who continually set Annabelle on the wrong path. I found myself so frustrated with Anna and Bell, and Annabelle for not being able to stand up to them, but in reality, people who suffer from mental health problems, are controlled (to differing degrees) by their disorder, unless they seek help. It is a sad truth.
It is obvious in the honesty of the story and the words that it is something very close to Pouliot’s heart, which is probably why the earnestness of the reaction of Annabelle’s mum, Lee, really got to me. And I mean, how would you cope with so much loss? Lee lost every one of her children, so when her legs gave way and she couldn’t stop crying it was a stab to my own heart for anyone that has been through or is going through the disappearance of a family member.
There are so many important elements in this story: the loss of a child, the difficulty in finding good help from the authorities in locating missing teens, undiagnosed mental health problems, domestic abuse of children and drug and alcohol use amongst teens. I feel as though most people can relate to at least one of those issues. I know I certainly can.
In spite of all the sadness though, there were light-hearted, happy moments and those were what really created the much needed balance whilst reading such a devastating story. I personally loved the characters of Bessie and Christine. The kind-hearted madam, working in King’s Cross trying to provide a home for her workers and the loveable prostitute who managed to have fun in spite of her difficult childhood. Then there was Big John and Lins, the loveable truckie and his wife who took in a number of children and tried to set them on the straight and narrow.
I could talk for hours about this book, but instead of giving too much more away you had best read it for yourself and discover all the highs and lows that I myself felt while reading this story.
You can find the author, Melissa-Jane Pouliot on Facebook here.