Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
My expectations for this novel were high but I was also anticipating that they would be dashed. They weren’t. My expectations were exceeded as Friday Brown threw out a few surprises, intakes of breath and a raised eyebrow or two. Friday Brown left me bereft. Not empty; but as if I’d lost something special. There aren’t that many novels that leave me like that. I want it back please.
Set in Australia, the novel is about a teen called Friday
Brown. Her mother thought calling her Friday would protect her from the family
curse which goes that all the Brown women die from drowning on a Saturday. When
Friday’s mother dies, she takes off and starts all over again, the one thing
that she has been doing all her life. Just this time, she’s doing it on her own
and she’s in search of her dad whom she’s never met. And then, a train station
incident changes everything and the novel took me places I’d never expected and
at times I was a little afraid to follow – but I’m so glad I did. Had she
known, I’m sure Friday would have changed things....I wish she had.
|Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield|
One of the standouts of this novel for me was the characters. There are quite a few of them: Friday, Silence, Arden, Darcy, Carrie, Bree, AiAi, Joe, Malik and Wish.
Other than Friday, you don’t get to know too much about their pasts other than that they were troubled. At the same time, you really get to know them in the way that you might get to know someone in real life (you know how you often don’t actually interview someone when you meet them). For me, Silence and Arden really are the most interesting characters of all, partly because there’s so much left unsaid about them and you just know that there is so much to say. Silence is a terribly endearing character. Arden, well, what can I say! Bree is interesting, living a double life. That is curious. Wish. I feel like he was a bit of a superfluous character. However, I suspect that other readers, especially teen readers, may feel that he is a very important character.
Friday Brown is a very contemporary psychological thriller and a novel that deals with big and unsettling topics: like mental and sexual toying, mutism, homelessness, death, abuse and worse. But it is not gritty. As Arden (one of the characters in the novel) does with her ‘children’, Friday Brown reels you in with its warm, beguiling charm, spinning you like a yoyo. Up and down, up and down....leaving you dangling...and up again....and down – and then it cuts the string.
One of my favourite novels this year, I have a feeling Friday Brown could be one of those novels that in ten years time I’m still pulling its name out of the bag when someone asks for a recommendation. Good for young teens right through to adults.
Silence is silver and then I wished upon a star.
PS. The author, Vikki Wakefield, set out to explore very different themes to those that I identified. Reading is so interpretive and its iteration continues to reproduce something different.
Publication details: July 2013, Hot Key Books, London, paperbackThis copy: uncorrected proof received from the publishers for review
Friday Brown was originally published in 2012 by Text Publishing, Australia.