05 October 2010

Anonymity Jones

by James Roy

Woolshed Press (Random House Australia). Young Adult fiction, Australian. Paperback rrp $ 17.95

Reviewed by Sandy Fussell

From the very first page this is a story about identity and change. Anonymity’s mother changed her name when she got married, and changed it again when the marriage fell apart. Older sister Raven changed her name just for the hell of it. And Anonymity… her name is a statement in itself.

To find out who she is, Anonymity must survive a changing world. Her new stepfather is a hovering potential predator. Her best friends now have boyfriends. Her sister is leaving home. Dad has his own troubles. The teacher she has a crush on is sending her mixed messages.
As a protagonist Anonymity is not always likeable and her actions often lack personal honesty but that is what makes her real. She is a strong, feisty heroine who sometimes makes the wrong decision. Or does she? Who is to say what is right and what is wrong for her? Anonymity is not afraid to stand up and be counted. She confronts her lying friends, traps her stepfather when her mother refuses to listen and delivers a warning to her art teacher.

This is a book that grew on me. It’s not that I didn’t immediately like it. In fact, that was the problem. I read it too fast, in one sitting. Discussing it later with a friend I realised I had totally overlooked the most identity-less character of all. It’s a credit to Roy’s storytelling that he paints with such a light touch, and a debit to me that I rushed past without noticing. So read slowly and savour as I did second time around.

Teenage girls will particularly enjoy Anonymity Jones but the readership will certainly extend to a wider audience.

View the book trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROmEdhYbPZo

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