Give Me A Sign by Shanta Everington
|Give Me A Sign by Shanta Everington|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A short, bittersweet story of growing up, first love and difference. Sparely written with concentration on the emotional landscape, it will appeal to even the least habitual reader.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 142||Date: July 2008|
|Publisher: Flame Books|
Liz is still grieving for her father, who died suddenly a few years ago. She's finding it difficult to move on, unlike her mother who, in Liz's opinion, launched into a live-in relationship and another baby with unseemly haste. Liz is coltish and tall, with size 9 feet. Her breasts haven't grown much yet. She's doing A Levels at college because she was bullied at school, but the Russell twins are making her life a misery, so she might as well have not bothered. Not that Liz's mother cares - shit happens, Liz, you just deal with it like an adult.
So when Doug happens along and asks her out, Liz can't believe her luck. Why on earth would anyone fall for her? In particular, someone as laid back and confident as Doug? Doug is deaf and Liz throws herself into the relationship, taking sign language classes and trying to impress his family. Suddenly, she encounters a whole different world of difficulties - discrimination both inside and outside the deaf community.
Oh, I did enjoy this short and sweet book. It's all about growing up and the desperate desire to fit in conflicting with the need to find individuality. And it's hinged around a first love affair, so intense, so sweet, so heartbreaking. Everington taps right into the wavering self esteem of a teenage girl and Liz is an utterly believable character. She exaggerates the meaning of every word or gesture that comes her way. She overanalyses. She's deeply suspicious of her mother. But all she's really trying to do is grow up and find herself. Of course, she has far more to offer than her poor self esteem - and an adoring new boyfriend - will let her believe.
It's sparely written, in short sentences, and taking up just 140 pages but packs an emotional punch far above this weight. It's ideal reading for any teenage girl looking to bolster her self esteem and find some sisterhood, especially, perhaps even, for those who don't spend much time reading.
My thanks to the nice people at Flame for sending the book.
Claudia Quinn in Sugarcoated by Catherine Forde is a similarly downcast central character with poor self esteem who has more to offer than she thinks.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.