Sunday, October 10, 2010

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly Review

Revolution, Jennifer Donnelly's remarkable new novel, weaves together the lives of Andi Alpers, a depressed modern-day teenager, and Alexandrine Paradis, a brave young woman caught up in the French Revolution. While in Paris with her estranged father, a Nobel geneticist hired to match the DNA of a heart said to belong to the last dauphin of France, Andi discovers a diary hidden within a guitar case--and so begins the story of Alexandrine, who herself had close ties to the dauphin. Redemption and the will to change are powerful themes of the novel, and music is ever present--Andi and Alex have a passion for the guitar, and the playlist running through Revolution is a who's who of classic and contemporary influences. Danger, intrigue, music, and impeccably researched history fill the pages of Revolution, as both young women learn that, "it is love, not death, that undoes us."--Seira Wilson
I like this video by the author, Jennifer Donnelly.  She explains the plot and reasons for writing this book.

I decided the best way to review this book is to disassociate. Don't be alarmed. Healthy people call this "compartmentalizing." It's all the same. Here we go:

The Mom:  I do not approve of underage drinking or illegal use of drugs.  Although chemicals have their place, the protagonist was clearly abusing her prescription.  I am very critical and judgmental of this. Sneaking out of the house to attend a rave party in the catacombs?  Hello?  Not cool.  At least there is no sex scenes.  Also, what's up with all the slang?  Couldn't understand a lot of it.

The Educator: What a brilliant way to introduce the French Revolution to young adults!  Using a troubled 17 year old girl who is extremely depressed, the protagonist's world intersects with another teenage girl and the crossover creates some beautiful symbolism.  As Andy connects to Alex, her own tragedy is put into a different perspective.

The School Counselor:  The story concentrates on the protagonist's reliance on her prescription drug addiction to deal with an earlier tragedy that altered the lives of not only her but her mother and father.  Andy experiences severe depression with marked psychotic episodes and suicidal ideation.  The author addresses the worth of a positive social group and contrasts it with a negative social group which adds drama and interest to the story.

The 80's teenager who still has unresolved issues: I totally loved "Les Mis." Mmmkay.  So, like the story was totally cool and all, and the lyrics from other songs were weird but cool.  I'm a lot more into Wham! and Reo Speedwagon, but whoever the artists are, they do pretty good, too.  But I kept looking for Jean Valjean, Javert, Marius, Cosette, and Eponine.  Hello?!  How can you have a revolution without singing songs about sewers and suicide (Oh, yeah.  I guess they did). 

Wrong revolution?  Oh, my bad. 

Hey, do these leg warmers make my butt look fat?

In other words, good book.  I really did get it and enjoyed it.  I appreciated Andy's growth and, even though I wasn't very impressed with her in the beginning as a rebellious teenager with piercings and spikes, I learned to appreciate her and even like her by the end of the book.  The beginning of her metamorphosis out of snotty teen and entrance into young adulthood with more trust and love was well developed.

*This book was provided to me by publisher for an honest review.  My thanks to them for the opportunity to read and review this book!


Unknown said...

I love Jennifer Connelly's stuff. But, you didn't have a rating on this one--or did I miss it?

Karla said...

I love Le Mis too. ; )

Karla said...

I forgot to mention that I like your compartmentalizing. Many times I read books that I completely hate as a mother but love as a girl (woman, lover of books, etc)

CountessLaurie said...

J'adore Les Mis. But that is the only french thing I like. Oh wait, I like French Fries too.

No, those leg warmers DO NOT make your butt look fat, unless you are wearing them up to your butt, in which case, NO, GIRLFRIEND, NO!!

Now, I cannot read this book because I am WAY to judgemental to compartmentalize or disassociate so I will practice avoidance.

BUT this is the second mention of this book I have seen today. Subliminal messages? I dunno.