Eleven-year-old Allegra shuttles between her grandmothers who live next door to one another but couldn’t be more different. Matilde works all hours and instils discipline, duty and restraint. She insists that Allegra focus on her studies to become a doctor. Meanwhile free-spirited Joy is full of colour, possibility and emotion, storing all her tears in little glass bottles. She is riding the second wave of the women’s movement in the company of her penny tortoise, Simone de Beauvoir, encouraging Ally to explore broad horizons and live her ‘true essence’. Rick lives in a flat out the back and finds distraction in gambling and solace in surfing. He’s trying to be a good parent to Al Pal, while grieving the woman linking them all but whose absence tears them apart.
Allegra is left to orbit these three adult worlds wishing they loved her a little less and liked each other a lot more. Until one day the unspoken tragedy that’s created this division explodes within the person they all cherish most
Allegra in Three Parts is based around Allegra, who is an 11, and then 12 year old. We see how Allegra tries to keep her family together, when all they want to do is do anything but, all except love her fiercely.
Allegra is smart, most of that I believe coming from her grandmother Matilde, who is all about Allegra’s studies, and instilling discipline to ensure Allegra one day becomes a doctor.
On the other hand, her other grandmother Joy, is more of a free spirit, encouraging Allegra to think and feel for herself, while showing her and somewhat teaching her about equal rights, womens empowerment and movement.
We also meet her there but not there Dad Rick, who lives in a flat above the shed at Matilde’s place.
You can see the fractures in Allegra’s family through out the book, the not speaking to each other, and the secrets that they all keep, in some ways sheltering Allegra from the truth about her mother, but wanting her to not worry.
From Allegra’s POV we see her observations about her life, everything in it and surrounding it. It gives you a sense of how a child would think and feel, through these experiences, and questioning everything as a child often does.
I will mention that this book does contain certain areas of domestic violence, bullying, teen pregnancy and abortion.
Overall I genuinely enjoyed Allegra in Three Parts, the writing style was amazing, the story itself beautiful. For a debut novel, Suzanna Daniel has definitely knocked it out of the park and I’m excited for more wonderfully written stories.
- ISBN: 9781760781712
- Format: Trade Paperback
- Pub Date: 28/05/2019
- Imprint: Macmillan Australia
- Price: $29.99
A huge thank you to the team at Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.