Tuesday, 27 March 2012
‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Baby Blue’ by Julia Green. Reviewed by Sue Barrow.
Mia is fifteen and pregnant. Will, the baby’s father, enjoys hanging around with the crowd at school, including Ali who makes it clear that she fancies him too. Mia doesn’t get on with her Dad, school is a pain and she is still struggling to understand why her mother left the family home when she was six.
So begins the first of Julia Green’s twin novels, Blue Moon and Baby Blue, books that should arguably be recommended reading for both sexes because of the realistic way teenage pregnancy and parenthood are portrayed.
In spite of being a difficult and rebellious girl, Mia initially seems to go along with the assumption by most of the adults in her life that she should have an abortion. But when she comes across an old book of her mother’s on pregnancy and starts reading about her baby’s development she begins to think differently. The decision she makes takes her on a journey, literally, into unfamiliar and at times frightening territory. Mia is faced with finding her way through - deciding what’s best for her and her unborn baby as well as coming to terms with her relationship with both her father and mother.
There are clues to the emotional trauma suffered by Mia and the questions she still has about her mother’s leaving through brief flashbacks to her childhood. And details of the setting – a rundown village by the sea with a shingly strip of sand where Mia likes to wander - add to the atmosphere and enhance the readers understanding of Mia’s character.
Baby Blue picks up Mia's story just after the birth of her baby boy. Now aged sixteen she is still living at home with her Dad, although this relationship is under increasing strain. In spite of her optimism at the end of Blue Moon Mia discovers that being a single mother is hard work. Having to work through the complex emotional and practical implications of being a teenage mum, she finds her old school life and friends slowly drifting away. Harder still to deal with is the assumption by Will, and his parents that his own life will carry on as usual.
Julia Green writes about Mia’s experience of motherhood with compassionate realism – the delight and wonder of seeing her newborn baby juxtaposed with the loss of childhood and teenage life as she knew it. The prose is often lyrical, painting a gentle yet compelling picture of a young girl coming to terms with her own shortcomings, facing up to her responsibilities, and with her baby, ultimately making the best of it.
Blue Moon: Puffin 2003
233 pages £4.99
Baby Blue: Puffin
256 pages £5.99
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