Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Review: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
For seventeen-year-old Teresa Adams, high school is an excruciating daily ordeal. Her debilitating shyness makes every conversation and every confrontation an agonizing event. But at home, in the security of her bedroom, she daydreams of a secret life as a DJ for Miami's hottest radio station, SLAM FM, which just so happens to be owned by her stepfather. Some day, she believes, she'll get her big break. And then it happens - her stepfather allows her to sit in as an intern. Before long, she's helping out on air under the guise of Sweet T, her confident radio persona. At school, Teresa has to do a group oral presentation. It doesn't help that she has a crush on Gavin, the boy in her group. Will her secret life as a DJ help her overcome the shyness of her daily life-and possibly propel her straight into the arms of her crush?
Written in 1st person narrative, Teresa is so painfully shy that she practically goes mute whenever anyone speaks to her. Having to make an oral presentation for her English class is akin to a nightmare for her. However, her team mates are a terrific support system much to Tere surprise. The combination of their personality really gives balance to their group and allows Tere to develop. Tere's choice to use Helen Keller's Biography starts off as a way to avoid speaking but she really learns to appreciate the little things in life and takes the courage depicted by Helen Keller to face her own problems.
I think that in some ways we can all identify with Tere, I know I still get nervous meeting new people and it takes me awhile to feel comfortable with people.
Gavin is the perfect boy for Tere, not only does he share her passion and taste in music but he is comfortable with who he is. He doesn't pressure her to talk and the silence is never strained.
I loved the music references and the inside view of a radio station. You can really tell that Danielle Joseph was a DJ with the amount of detail given about how a radio show works.
I didn't like Tere's mother at all, she came across as a bit of a trampy gold-digger who prides beauty and slimness above all other qualities. She does progress within the narrative and attempts to repair some of the damage she caused to Tere's psyche but I did feel as if it was too little too late. Her stepfather, Rob, is a big influence in repairing the rift between Tere and her mother, he is also the one that gives Tere the gentle support she needs to achieve her goals, always in the background but a very reassuring presence. It doesn't hurt that he owns a radio station either and thats how Tere gets her break.
I really enjoyed the story, it was terrific to see the way in which Tere faced and conquered her own personal demons (so to speak), a bit of romance, friendship and a bully thrown into the mix makes for compelling reading :)