Tweeting while tipsy: hmmm, not my brightest move! That terrible temptation resulted in a pact with Her Randomness, Alex, to re-read one of our favourite YA books, one neither of us have read since we were young adults … an increasingly scary long time ago. And did so at opposite ends of the country which for some reason always surprises me. But there it was:
During March 2013 read and comment upon Margaret Mahy’s The Changeover, ISBN 041652270X, originally published in 1984.
Why? Apart from the tipsiness? Because we’d loved the book and didn’t want to brave a re-read in case the lustre had dulled, the shine diminished, the magic evaporated. I’d even rescued a copy from op shop obscurity a couple of years ago and left it sitting on a shelf untouched. A top shelf, mind you. But alright. The pact was made. I just had to stop la-la-la-ing the March days away. When I succumbed to the psychic vibes Alex was sending late in the month and finally flipped to the first page, read the first sentence, I knew it was going to be okay.
I just didn’t know it was going to be better.
Yes, better. The language is wonderful. I don’t read many YA novels or hang out with the age-group so I forget that sentence structure, word choices, images, are adult. They may be simplified slightly for the ‘young’ aspect of ‘young adult’ but I’m at home here wandering around in a world darker than I probably appreciated at the time. There’s urban sprawl, species habitat loss, late child support payments, divorce, rape, exams, and all the tiny daily stains of darkness like running late, and bad hair and lost shoes lending layers to an ordinary suburban setting, making it a place where a baby-soul sucking demon would quite naturally lair.
As would witches. Now I could wax lyrical over Sorry. I suspect, that rather like the kingfisher he borrows from the future and Laura calls a present from tomorrow, he’s a link in the ladder leading to Ramses Emerson, Rupert Carsington et al. He does the quotes, the drama, the air of disinterest and the obscure compliments so well, plus he reads romances. And I quite like what he – or Mahy through him – says about women being imaginary creatures, though if I think about that too long it becomes a warning against peer pressure, the constant search for identity, blah blah, and this commentary could lurch rustily into essay territory. Let’s stay well away from there. I’d much rather babble about what stuck with me the most after I sighed at the last line: Everyone needs to find the place where they feel strong, sexy, powerful. For Sorry, that’s his room, a physical space. But the space Laura finds is in her own head and that is infinitely better.
There! I did it! After years of dithering followed by days of la-la-la-ing I have re-read The Changeover and commented upon it, not reviewed as I am writer (when I remember) and loathe giving away too much plot even when they’re not mine.
So now I need to track down the other Mahy novel, the one with the boy named after an astronomer, Tycho something I think, who stands on a book to kiss the girl, and the book is the book of the universe, no, Catalogue of the Universe, aha! Amazingly the State Library has a copy. Even more amazingly, I’m 2nd on the reservation list. And that is enormously reassuring.
ps. while looking for a link to a Mahy bibliography, found out there was a 13-part TV Maddigan’s Fantasia series screened in Aus in 2005 – missed that, drat!