Maybe it only seemed that way in the French Revolution. That's what I've been reading about lately- fictional accounts anyway. Usually historical fiction isn't really my thing, but I was willing to give it a shot for one of the Soaring Eagle Award nominees.
In this story we have Andi. I imagine Andi to look something like this, maybe with a few more piercings.
|Pssst. I have no idea who this girl actually is... thank you stock pics on how-to-play-electric-guitar.net|
Anyway, we have Andi. After her brother's death, she falls into a serious depression. Like holy cow, even the super strong anti-depressants aren't working kind of depression. Like watch out that girl might kill herself kind of depression. You get the idea.
Unfortunately, Andi's parents aren't much help. Andi's mother isn't dealing well with grief either. She's gone semi-catatonic and just paints all day. Her father is rarely around since he won the Nobel prize and walked out on the family. The counselor and her friends try to help, but no one seems to be able to reach her.
Then one day, the beginning of winter break, Andi's father shows up without warning. He finds Andi's mother painting yet another portrait of her dead son and sees Andi's school is close to expelling her for not doing her work. If he's worried, it doesn't come off as concern for their well-being, so much as hope that she will graduate high school. Too bad he doesn't respect Andi's only emotional release (and possible future career)- music. After a typical argument between the two, Andi's dad reveals that he is taking her to Paris with him, so he can make sure she finishes her senior thesis outline over break. After all, this is the only thing that will keep her in her fancy school. Her mother will be sent to a mental institution while she is away.
Andi is carted away to Paris. Most of us would consider this a pleasure, but this poor girl sees it as nothing but torture. Staying with her father's friends is fine, but she discovers they are conducting DNA research on a dead child, Charles-Louis. He was 10, like her brother, when he died and has such similar features to him that she starts to panic. But his story is compelling. Being trapped in a tower alone after his royal parents were killed? But are you sure that is the little boy's heart that has been discovered?
Andi alternates between total curiosity and total depression remembering her brother, until she discovers an antique diary that no one else knows about. OK, even then its still a delicate balance keeping her alive, but she feels a deep connection with the revolutionary girl writing the diary. The rebel Alexadrine Paradis, who shoots off illegal fireworks as a symbol of hope in a dark time.
There were some. I promise. I even had some highlighted on my Kindle. But... long story short, my library loan on the book ran out. I had to go check out the paper copy since someone had a loan on the ebook. And all the cool things I had highlighted were gone. *tear*
You should know, though, that the book is well written.
What I Like
- I know this doesn't sound like a positive thing, but the book was an emotional roller coaster for me. It seemed like every time I pick it up, I would cry. I know not everyone would cry at this girl's depression, but... revelation- I've been there. So while Andi is busy connecting with Alexandrine, I'm busy connecting with her. And even though the parts that caught my attention were forever lost because I didn't finish reading in time, I remember a little piece that caught my attention. Andi's on the phone with her best friend from back in New York and as they are finishing their conversation, he tells her not to do anything stupid. He knows her suicidal tendencies and this is a simple plea for her life. Her response? "I'll try." It's a simple exchange, but beautiful in such a sad way. It reveals so much. Knowing that people care, but not knowing how to deal with the pain inside. Not knowing what to do and not feeling like you have control over yourself. Like I said. Simple. Beautiful. Sad.
- I actually learned something during my pleasure reading time. The story of the young prince imprisoned just because his parents are his parents is heartbreaking.
And there really was a firework releasing rebel. There were a whole bunch of beheadings just because some people were angry and everyone seemed to be about revenge and killing and mob mentality. Like "Woo hoo! Someone's gonna die! Great afternoon party!" Weird.
I really enjoyed the book. It was a little goofy toward then end... and a bit predictable... but I still liked it. I mean, I went through all the effort of going to get the paper copy of the book. That has to say something, right?
And I enjoyed reading about the strange angry times of the French Revolution enough that I've checkout out another story set in that time period. I'll let you know how it goes. (I've already learned that the guillotine was named for someone. Dr. Guillotin, to be exact. And that crazy dude was obviously very proud of his invention to name it after himself. Weird.)