I guess I have mixed feelings about Saving Francesca
. I like the friends, and I like the way Marchetta tells the friends. I like the way she talks about camp because that felt real, and there was one moment in the book where I thought, “Ahh, truth.” But, I thought Francesca was mostly annoying. She pushed a lot of the buttons that were permanently welded to my framework in high school. They are mostly rusted over and useless buttons at this point, so I wasn’t really bitter at Francesca, but she does bother me. On the one hand, yeah kid, that’s pretty rough, and I’m glad that you get to freak out and still come back to people who love you. On the other hand, as Mike Meyers said to Nicole Kidman, “You’re surrounded by a lot of positive support.”
And I don’t want to be bugged by a kid who is feeling alienated and then reassured by all the people who love her. That seems good, so I feel bad to be annoyed. I think this is one of those situations where I had a best friend in high school who was a poor little stunning supermodel, too, and sometimes people in her house were unhappy and the world would end. I don’t know, I ate a lot of tuna fish sandwiches in sixth grade, too, and now even a really good tuna sandwich sounds gross to me. And this book is a really good tuna sandwich. Mostly I’m probably annoyed with my own callousness in reaction to this story. I think Marchetta gets it though. I think she gets that Francesca mostly doesn’t know or appreciate what she has and this story is kind of her journey to learning to appreciate people.
Part of my problem, I think, is that I am left feeling like this book is a debate over whether Francesca’s feelings are valid or not. Like, whether her family situation is bad enough
for her to act like a brat. Because sometimes she is sad and other times she needs to be slapped. And I think part of the point of the story is, Francesca, look at the people around you who are not surrounded by so much love. But, I think it’s a false standard to compare sad life experiences. I don’t think us acting like brats has to do with whether we have a hard home life. Not that it isn’t valid to act like a brat, to be depressed, to despair. I think those things are more like growing pains of our souls, though, than injuries. It kind of bothers me that Marchetta links all of the depression in this book to events, and once the characters acknowledge the events, they can get past the depression. I just don’t think life is usually that clean, and I don’t really think it should be.
Jimmy seemed really true to me, though. I liked that even though Francesca was so devastated by her family becoming messy, Jimmy could still see that her family was worth awkwardly inviting himself to dinner. I liked that to Jimmy it was valuable to just sit and chat with Francesca’s mom, even though she was in her jammies (o the horror!). When Jimmy said that what you miss, when you lose everyone, is having someone to hold you, that was true and vivid to me. I am skeptical that a high school boy would say that as he’s jumping on a bus, but still it was true.
I definitely approve of this book, but I didn’t really enjoy reading it. I was mostly like *facepalm* throughout, but it is still good. Some books make me think this
, this is why fiction exists, but I wondered throughout Saving Francesca
why anybody would seek it out to read. I’ve heard it’s because you should read it before [b:The Piper’s Son|9302583|The Piper's Son|Melina Marchetta|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51d8-Krw3yL._SL75_.jpg|9362085], so that’s what I’m doing. Plus, it’s short and cute, so there’s really no reason not
to read it. After re-reading this paragraph, I'm left thinking that is probably how people feel about me, too. Sigh.