Thursday 2 October 2014

Roses are Blue

Roses are Blue by Sally Murphy, illustrated by Gabriel Evans (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 9781922244376
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This superlative verse novel is about people being different and varying perceptions of what that means through a child’s eyes. Highly emotive, this gentle story has additional sub-themes of fitting in, acceptance and trust.

Amber Rose thinks a lot about her family; about before and now. Before the accident her mum was a free spirit - happy, playful, and artistic. Now she sits in a wheelchair, with a lopsided mouth, unable to talk or care for herself. Amber’s before mum has disappeared and she misses all the things Mum was and isn’t anymore. It is only one of many changes in Amber’s life.

Moving house, starting a new school and making new friends is hard. So Amber hasn’t yet told anyone about Mum. Not even her new best friend, Saffron. She doesn’t know how people will react. We see the state of Amber’s heart and mind, and the internal battle she is dealing with. Her feelings and thoughts reach the reader through her measured and precise descriptions about her doubts and fears. Mother’s Day and high tea at school puts Amber in a panic. She has a lot to consider and difficult decisions to make. And if her mum comes, will being different make a difference to anyone?

Sally Murphy’s preference for verse novels is an inspired choice. Amber’s narrative voice is perfect. This book taught me so much about acceptance and seeing things from both sides of every situation. A thought-provoking and moving book.

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