Monday, August 1, 2011

Review: A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon

A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon

Pages: 228
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Published: August 1st, 2011
IBSN: 9781742377308

School is over, not just for the year, but forever. Tiff and Kayla are free, which is what they've always wanted, but now summer is nearly at and end and that means life decisions. Tiff is hoping her job at the local paper will lead to something more... But 'The Shark' soon puts her straight on what it takes to become a hard-nosed reporter like him. At home, Reggie - the only grandad she's ever known - has quit the smokes and diagnosed himself as cactus. Then Kayla hits her with some big news. And into all this stumbles Davey, the first boy who has ever really wanted to know her.

Tiff is smart with words and rarely does tears, but in one short week she discovers that words don't always get you there; they don't let you say all the stuff from deep in your heart.

A Straight Line To My Heart is a distinctly Australian coming-of-age story.

Tiff describes herself best as plain. She lives with elderly and tough Reggie and Bull, his son; neither are related to her. Apart from her odd living situation, she leads a fairly unremarkable life. That, however, changes dramatically over the summer after high school finishes forever for her.

Tiff will deal with the loss of loved ones, find new loved ones, puzzle over what to do with her life, but come out the other side a new, stronger person. Her voice is clear, her emotions impossible not to sympathise with, her journey both inspiring and very relatable.

A Straight Line To My Heart sang to the part of me who loves out-of-the-ordinary, non-traditional relationships. Tiff's connections with her family and her friends and one Davey (swoony in how relatable, awkward and goofy he is) were heart-warming and touching. The relationships, like the rest of the novel, was refreshingly original.

Written in such an expert fashion, so easily incorporating realistic Australian colloquial language, this book made me, notorious hater of Aussie slang, warm to the characters. It also created a three-dimensional setting that never resigned to the background, but stayed in the forefront of the story.

Concluded with a sweet ending that will make you take turns crying and grinning, this was a simply lovely contemporary novel.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes their books short and sweet, and especially to fellow Australians (and extra-especially to non-Australians who enjoy Australian books -- it gives a very realistic look into a typical Australian lifestyle).

I give A Straight Line To My Heart a 5 out of 5.