Monday, 2 May 2011

The Taming of Lilah May by Vanessa Curtis

12th May 2011, Frances Lincoln
192 pages, Paperback
Review copy
Children's/Young Adult

Summary from Frances Lincoln.
Lilah's Anger Diary, March 26th
Anger levels: 11/10

I'm Lilah May and I'm ANGRY.
So angry that I'm about to be excluded from school, my parents can't control me, and only one person in the world understands me. And that's my best friend, Bindi.
I haven't always been this way. It all started with my brother Jay. And what no one realises is that it's all my fault.

I totally queue-jumped with this book. I adored her previous two books, Zelah Green: Queen of Clean/Who Says I'm a Freak?  and the sequel Zelah Green:One More Little Problem. As soon as I saw this, I sensed it would involve all aspects of emotion, exploring sides of society that aren't scented with roses. It's not even published yet. But it's one you definitely need to pre-order.

I haven't ever had anger issues. At least I didn't think so, not to the extent which Lilah gets mad. There's a deep rooted reason for that, linked to when her brother disappeared. Initially I didn't have a clue what happened to her brother, but slowly as Lilah revealed more information drip by drip, I had ideas floating around my head which eventually became concrete. I really enjoyed how I didn't find out the full reason as to why Lilah blames herself as the end. I wanted to capture in her a tight squishy hug and not let go until all the held in emotions were let out.

I think it was after half way through the book that I connected with Lilah on a deeper level than I had in the beginning. Anger isn't just kicking things and being violent. It has a unique mindset, one which it turns out I really related to in my teen years (like Lilah it was rooted in situations out of my control). I think it was more the not knowing of how Jay was which hit her hardest. She'd become like a little tank, strong on the outside, locking away everything inside herself. Or more accurately a rusty tank which held something very explosive inside, that made people handle her with care. It was beautiful to read how her father figured out a way to tame her - you could see the tenuous father-daughter bond start to grow (there were 2 methods used, both very sweet). I enjoyed watching her anger levels go up, then slowly go down again. Equally fun were the doodles on the pages - it makes it feel like her diary. Oh and watching how her family almost disintegrated, then slowly started to help themselves was also a pleasure to read.

Just as with the Zelah Green books, I enjoyed how there are other big issues explored - Lilah's closest friends (well, the only friends really) end up having their own problems too. Although their problems were preventable, and Lilah's wasn't (not directly), it is through the problems that Lilah realises she can interact with the world, that other people have problems too, even if their lives seem perfect on the surface. Her friends cause her heartache, but they are there when she needs them the most.

I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel, due out January 2012!

Check out Vanessa's other books on her website.


Clover said...

This is definitely a book that I'm looking out for, especially after I really enjoyed the first Zelah Green book (and looking out for the second!). Sounds interesting and thank you for the review :)

Steve Feasey said...

You HAVE totally queue jumped with this book. I'm still waiting on my copy, and Vanessa's a friend of mine! ;)
Glad you liked it so much. I loved the Zelah Green books too, and I'm looking forward to meeting Lilah May. Nice review.

Nayuleska said...

Thank you! I'm sure you'll both understand why there was such a big queue jump. I'd love to know what you both think of it.