Thursday, 3 January 2013

Review: Love You Two

Love You Two
Love You Two by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It would be 3 1/2 stars if Goodreads had half stars. Just saying.

Although I knew of this book from the collection at the High School where I used to work, but it wasn't until two American friends began talking about it as a book that dealt with polyamory and queer relationships that I got more interested. (I'd thought it also went into trans, but was wrong about that.)

Pina is a teenage girl growing up in Adelaide. Her Italian-Australian family is familiar to me from Melina Marchetta's first book (by which I don't mean it's the same family, but the structure and the overwhelmingness of community that I've never had in real life is recognisable between the two books.) There are firm ideas about what is right and what is wrong. But on the day the book starts, Pina discovers that her mother has been doing something "wrong" for many many years.

I found Pina difficult to deal with as a narrator and as a character: she was judgmental in a way that put me off. I was a pretty sheltered teenager, but I don't remember being as... straight-laced as she seems to be. I don't know: I suppose my point is, this book gets into some pretty deep stuff, but a lot of the treatment of said deepness was just a bit - shallow.

I wanted to love this book but it all began to feel a little too much show-your-research for me. As the various characters and situations were revealed, it just felt a little contrived. (Also throwing me out of the story was someone from Shepparton describing himself as Murri. I know you accept people's own identifications, but Shep is in the heart of "Koori" country - Murri is way further north.)

Again, I think my problem was I wanted to love this book more than I did love it.

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