Charlene is angry; angry with her mum who died, angry at the way she is dismissed by adults, and most of all angry that she has been completely separated from her little sister whom she adores. She hasn’t seen her for two years and she herself is now in foster care. Her rage bubbles inside her and sometimes erupts. Knitting helps her to keep calm. When her foster son destroys the knitting she is creating for Kandi, Charlene loses it. Now the consequences are serious – can Charlene say sorry? Should she?
The writing is direct, immediate and colloquial as Charlene narrates her own story. This is no more than we expect from this publisher or from this author. Here the novella format is taken by Patrice Lawrence to create a concise, charged narrative that immediately engages the reader. Charlene steps off the page and many will recognise her. Her anger and rage is not a device; it is very real – an emotion felt by all – especially in their teens. It is compounded by her situation – sadly one that many experience. The questions Lawrence presents as the narrative unfolds are also real, as are the consequences Charlene faces for her actions. Though we see the world through Charlene’s eyes and assumptions, there is no sense that it is simple or the answers easy – even unexpected people can be sympathetic. However, this is not a depressing story and though there is no fairy-tale ending the reader leaves hopeful that Charlene will achieve her greatest wish – perhaps the simplest – contact with her little sister, Kandi. Length is often seen as an indication of depth; this is not necessarily true as Lawrence demonstrates; powerful writing with immediate impact. A novel for today.