Wednesday 16 May 2012

137. One Long Thread by Belinda Jeffrey

One Long Thread by Belinda Jeffrey
Published February 2012 UQP

From the publisher:
I had moths in my chest. A thousand of them drumming with their insistent wings, thumping inside my heart. It was the feeling of something struggling to get out, to fly free . . . Love is like that.

When divorce rips Ruby Moon's family apart and tragedy traps her twin, Sally, in a cocoon from which she might never escape, Ruby learns that love is never simple.

This story starts with a young girl, Pearl, being sent away from her family...she is pregnant.  This girl will become the Grandmother of our protagonist, Ruby. The main characters in this story are all members of the same family; Ruby and her twin sister Sally, their parents, once in love, now divorced and Pearl, the grandmother who has been absent for most of the girls'  lives.

There is a lot going on in this book, and I am not going to rehash the entire storyline.  The quick version is this:  twins, Ruby and Sally, as different as two sisters could be, as teenagers they are separated because, with their parents separation, each parent takes one daughter, and Sally moved to Darwin with her Mother.  The events that unfold throw Ruby into turmoil and she struggles with her feelings about her mother, her sister, her future and about love.  Not knowing who else to turn to to, she seeks out Pearl, and she ends up in Tonga with a grandmother she barely knows, and hundreds of silkworms.

To me, the essence of this story is family, the good and the bad.  The relationship between mothers and daughters in particular.  The characters are real, and because of that they are flawed.  Ruby's mother makes a decision that broke my heart, I was just grateful that Ruby had other people in her life who could give her the love that she deserved.  The story shows how families are always connected, no matter where we end up, and that the relationship parents had with their parents affects the relationship they have with their own children.  No matter how hard you try it's impossible to escape where you have come from, we are a result of everything that has come before us.  This story also shows that is important to go after what we want in life and the the importance of having dreams and taking risks.

On a different note, I did learn a lot about the amazing world of silk and silkworms. The book gets it's title from the silkworms. Silk can only be spun from a single unbroken thread, and the caterpillars die so that we can get the single thread.

This was a strong, powerful, beautiful Australian story.  I always think that the books that stay with me the longest are the ones that made me laugh and the ones that made me cry.  This one made me cry and I know the story will stay with me for a long time to come.  

Who will like this book: Girls age 15+
Read it if you like: Joanna Horniman

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