Saturday, 8 June 2013

Young Adult

NZ Writer
Mandy Hager
Dear Vincent
Random House   2013         $19.99pb           277 pages        
ISBN 978 1 7755 3327 6

Themes: Aged care/ Death/ Dysfunctional families/ Love stories/ Painting/ Suicide/ Survival/ Vincent Van Gogh

In her new book (published yesterday 7.6.13) Mandy Hager takes us to some dark places with amazing skill and understanding. Tara’s sister has killed herself in Ireland on the other side of the world, her father is terminally ill and her mother appears to have written her off. Tara, a passionate painter and admirer of the works of Vincent van Gogh ultimately shows she is a survivor but we have many moments of doubting if she will make it.  it is a story hard to stop reading. Mandy has written a two-page note at the end of the book, which in my opinion, is one of the best arguments for NOT taking one’s own life I have read. As she says – there is nothing remotely glamorous, mysterious, logical or inevitable about killing oneself...Why cut a life short when circumstances can change from one instant to another? We never know what is round the corner – that’s part of the great possibility of life...
My hope for the book, as well as being read as a great story by a writer who goes each year from strength to strength, is that it finds its way into the hands of people it will help.
Of course, as an ex-librarian I am only too aware this will have its difficulties.

Year 10 up/ Age 14 up (and adults)

Mandy Hager and Ruth MacIntyre at the Children's Bookshop, Kilbirnie, Wellington. In the background - David Hair, Geoff Palmer and Fleur Beale. 
Photo: Barbara Murison (taken 2012)

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