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Saving Francesca (Anglais) Broché – 9 mai 2006


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Chapter 1

This morning, my mother didn’t get out of bed.
It meant I didn’t have to go through one of her daily pep talks which usually begin with a song that she puts on at 6.45 every morning. It’s mostly 70s and 80s retro crap, anything from ‘I Will Survive’ to some woman called Kate Bush singing, ‘Don’t Give Up’. When I question her choices she says they’re random, but I know that they are subliminal techniques designed to motivate me into being just like her.
But this morning there is no song. There is no advice on how to make friends with the bold and the interesting. No twelve point plan on the best way to make a name for myself in a hostile environment. No motivational messages stuck on my mirror urging me to do something that scares me every day.
There’s just silence.
And for the first time all year I go to school and my only agenda is to get to 3.15.

School is St Sebastian’s in the city. It’s a predominately all-boys’ school that has opened its doors to girls in Year Eleven for the first time ever. My old school, St Stella’s, only goes to Year Ten and most of my friends now go to Pius Senior College, but my mother wouldn’t allow it because she says the girls there leave with limited options and she didn’t bring me up to have limitations placed upon me. If you know my mother, you’ll sense there’s an irony there, based on the fact that she is the Queen of the Limitation Placers in my life. My brother, Luca, is in Year Five at Sebastian’s so my mother figured it would be convenient for all of us in the long run and my dad goes along with it because no one in my family has ever pretended that my mother doesn’t make all the decisions.
There are thirty of us girls at Sebastian’s and I want so much not to do the teenage angst thing, but I have to tell you that I hate the life that, according to my mother, I’m not actually having.
It’s like this. Girls just don’t belong at St Sebastian’s. We belong in schools that were built especially for us, or in co-ed schools. St Sebastian’s pretends it’s co-ed by giving us our own toilet. The rest of the place is all male and I know what you’re thinking if you’re a girl. What a dream come true, right? Seven hundred and fifty boys and thirty girls? But the reality is that it’s either like living in a fish bowl or like you don’t exist. Then, on top of that, you have to make a whole new group of friends after being in a comfortable little niche for four years. At Stella’s, you turned up to school, knew exactly what your group’s role and profile was, and the day was a blend of all you found comfortable. My mother calls that complacency but whatever it’s called, I miss it like hell.
Here, at Sebastian’s, after a term of being together, the girls haven’t really moved on in the sorority department. I don’t exactly have friends as much as ex-Stella girls I hang around with who I had barely exchanged a word with over the last four years. Justine Kalinsky, for example, came to Stella’s in Year Eight and never actually seemed to make any friends there. She plays the piano accordion. There’s also Siobhan Sullivan, who uses us as a disembarkation point for when one of the guys calls her over. In Year Seven, for a term, Siobhan and I were the most hysterical of friends because we were the only ones who wanted to gallop around the playground like horses while the rest of the Stella girls sat around in semi-circles being young ladies. Most of our free time was spent making up dance moves to Kylie songs in our bedrooms and performing them in the playground until someone pointed out that we were showing off. My group found me just after that, thank God, and I never really spoke to Siobhan Sullivan again. My friends always told me they wanted to rescue me from Siobhan and I relished being saved because it meant that people stopped tapping me on the shoulder to point out what I was doing wrong.
Tara Finke hangs out with us as well. She was the resident Stella psycho, full of feminist, communist, anythingist rhetoric, and if there is one thing I’ve noticed around here, it’s that Sebastian boys don’t like speeches. Especially not from us girls. They’d actually be very happy if we never opened our mouths at all. Tara’s already been called a lesbian because that’s how the Sebastian boys deal with any girl who has an opinion, and because there are only four ex-Stella girls, I assume the rest of us get called the same thing. I could get all politically correct here and say that there’s nothing wrong with being called a lesbian, but it all comes down to being labelled something that you’re not. Tara Finke thinks she’s going to be able to set up a women’s movement at the school, but girls run for miles when they see her coming.
The girls from St Perpetua’s, another Year Seven to Ten school, make up the bulk of the female students. They don’t want to get involved with Tara and her movement because their mothers have taught them to go with the flow, which I personally think is the best advice anyone can get. My mother is a different story. She’s a Communications lecturer at UTS and her students think she’s the coolest thing around. But they don’t have to put up with her outbursts or her inability to let anything go. If it’s not an argument with the guy at the bank who pushed in front of us, it’ll be questioning the rude tone of some service industry person over the phone. She’s complained to personnel at our local supermarket so many times about the service that I’m sure they have photos of my family at the door with instructions to never let us in.
Every day I come home from St Sebastian’s and my mother asks me if I’ve addressed the issue of the toilets, or the situation with subject selection or girls’ sport. Or if I’ve made new friends, or if there’s a guy there that I’m interested in. And every afternoon I mumble a ‘no’ and she looks at me with great disappointment and says, ‘Frankie, what happened to the little girl who sang “Dancing Queen” at the Year Six Graduation night?’ I’m not quite sure what wearing a white pants suit and boots, belting out an Abba hit has to do with liberating the girls of St Sebastian’s, but somehow my mother makes the connection.
So I come home ready to mumble my ‘no’ again. Ready for the look, the lecture, the unexpected analogies and the disappointment.
But she’s still in bed.
Luca and I wait for my dad at the front door because my mother never stays in bed, even if she has a temperature over 40 degrees. But today the Mia we all know disappears and she becomes someone with nothing to say.
Someone a bit like me.


From the Hardcover edition.

Revue de presse

"Sparkling dialogue and engaging characters...Francesca’s messy, credible array of emotions and problems will keep readers absorbed to the last, satisfying line."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"A rich exploration of maturation, identity, family, and friendship." —The Bulletin, Starred

"Readers will applaud the realistic complexity in the relationships here, the genuine love between the characters, as well as Francesca's ultimate decision to save herself."--Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Teens will relate to this tender novel and will take to heart its solid messages and realistic treatment of a very real problem."--School Library Journal, Starred


From the Hardcover edition.


Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 256 pages
  • Editeur : Knopf Books for Young Readers; Édition : Reprint (9 mai 2006)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0375829830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375829833
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,8 x 1,5 x 21 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 105.672 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Par Manson Kirsten sur 31 juillet 2012
Format: Format Kindle
This book by Melina Marchetta distinguishes itself from her others by less introspection and more day to day action. It is once again a work of art on how to live and what to live for, and while dealing with a rather hard reality it is a hymn of hope, effort and family. I love the spirit which infuses this book, and once again the author combines a deep insight into humanity and its workings with a simple subtlety. I read this book in a day...
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 83 commentaires
24 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A teen read to be enjoyed by moms and daughters alike 30 juin 2005
Par Jessica Lux - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I picked this up because someone told me they loved it. I'm an adult and I had no idea this was YA fiction until I realized that it was set in high school from the point of view of a high school girl, but by that point, it didn't matter, because the story is so great that teens and adults alike can read it and relate.

I'm not too far out of high school, so Marchetta's descriptions really rung true for me. Francesca deals with feeling like a loner, worrying about doing "the wrong thing," worrying about which friends are her real ones, meeting people outside her "normal" friend circle and realizing that they are worthwhile, too, and dealing with her family. Everything was vivid and lifelike, including Francesca's mother's depression.

I went on highs and lows with Francesca, rooting for her the whole way through, and the end of the book has an excellent resolution that wasn't everything tied up with a pretty ribbon, but learning to deal with your place in the world and finding your own little pocket of happiness and worth.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Saving Francesca, Melina Marchetta 24 octobre 2004
Par Annomynous - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Saving Francesca is the much awaited second novel by the bestselling author Melina Marchetta. Marchetta's first novel was the award winning cross-over fiction Looking For Alibrandi and readers have been hungry for a second novel from this admired author. Finally Marchetta has produced a novel that satisfies expectations; Saving Francesca. This novel deals with many similar issues as her first novel; multiculturalism, Catholic education and the search for one's identity at a very significant time in life. The style of Melina Marchetta's writing has matured and she has once again produced a compelling read.

Francesca's mother, Mia, is a very motivated and vivacious Communications Lecturer, who plays a huge role in the Spinelli family. Mia insists on sending Francesca to St Sebastian's, an all boy's school which has just started accepting girls. At St Stella's, Francesca's former school, she had belonged to the "cool group," the group that every girl dreams of being in. St Stella's only caters for students up until grade 10 (the majority of the students continued their education at Pius Senior College). Mia believes that Pius Senior College limits students and does not want this for Francesca. Much to Francesca's dismay she is bombarded with testosterone and forced to move away from her comfort zone to associate with three other girls from St Stella's; Siobhan the `slut', Tara the `fanatic' and Justine the `loser'.

The students of St Sebastian's are thoroughly against sharing their school with females. They hate change and especially hate those who cause the change. They cannot deal with girls having an opinion and if faced with an opinionated female, label them a "lesbian". This does not cause Francesca any grief as she is a self described "go with the flow type" and much to Mia's apprehension, is reluctant to speak out. Francesca believes that Mia won't accept her for who she is and instead wants Francesca to be more like her.

When the lively and passionate Mia, turns into a depressed bedridden mother, Francesca's family loses the key link in their lives and are close to break down. Francesca realises that without Mia's motivation and high spirits she is unsure who her mother is, and even more unsure who she is. So the journey begins. However; instead of Josie Alibrandi it is Francesca Spinelli who is on the road to self discovery. She begins to realise that her "hip," "down to earth" friends from St Stella's who saved her from befriending the "losers," were actually preventing her from showing her true colours. St Sebastian's guides Francesca on this journey of self discovery and on the way Francesca forms strong friendships, is faced with romance and realises that she is more like Mia than she thinks.

Like Marchetta's first novel, Saving Francesca creates a powerful story in the period of one school year. This novel is relevant to teens in our society as it relates to many key issues; a major one being depression. This issue is portrayed through Mia and is explored in a very realistic manner. This theme is dealt with clear-eyed compassion and this novel implies that there is no quick fix. Belonging is another key issue and is explored through the central character, Francesca. I believe that the characters within this novel are likeable by the audience and are extremely realistic and believable. I recommend Saving Francesca for a wide range of readers, between 13 years to adults.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This is a must read for any teenage girl... or anyone, really 28 décembre 2005
Par Rachel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I picked up this book (American version) at the library about a month ago because I liked the pretty plaid on the back cover. I'm so glad I did. It is now up at the top of my list of favorite books, along with all the Tamora Pierce books and the Abhorsen Trilogy (Garth Nix).

Saving Francesca is really not what you might think. I read the back cover and assumed it would be a brain-numbing book about stupid relationships and breakups and flirting, etc (like a Gossip Girls novel *yuck*). Instead, I was thrown into Francesca's world. I lived and breathed her finding herself. Her dealing with her mother's depression. Her falling in love. Her realizing the good things she had but didn't see.

This book is wonderful. I really found myself relating with Francesca or (at least) one of her friends the entire time I read it. I loved Francesca's sarcastic sense of humor and found her narration extremely refreshing. This author knows her stuff!

I laughed. I cried. I BOUGHT this book even though I'd already read it (I NEVER do that...I'm too cheap). Please take my word for it and give this book an hour of your time. I swear you won't be able to put it down.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Could not put it down! 19 août 2008
Par Dr RD - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I stayed up long into the night to finish this book and it was my favorite book for a very long time.
It tells the story of Francesca, whose mom is suddenly not herself and stays in bed all day. We later learn she has depression. As if Francesca's family life could not get more complicated,she goes to a private school where she has no friends and there are no opprotunities for girls. But along the way she learns about herself and the people at her school and even finds herself falling in love with one of them!
Any girl can identify with Francesca's story and anyone can laugh along with her witty observations. She is one of those characters whose desicions I love. I don't spend my whole time groaning when the character does this or that, in fact, I applaud her.
7 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Saving Francesca 19 octobre 2004
Par Alice Williams - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
"I don't remember the last time anyone used my name...I don't remember the last time anyone looked me in the eye to speak to me. I'm frightened to look at myself in the mirror because maybe nothing's there...I want to be an adjective again. But I'm a noun. A nothing. A nobody. A no one..."

From the best selling and award winning author of Looking for Alibrandi, comes Melina Marchetta's second novel - Saving Francesca, a memorable story, told with much compassion, joy and love. A story that revisits adolescent pain with an Italian heritage, but with a new cast of characters we come to care deeply about.

For as long as Francesca Spinelli can remember, she has relied on other people to tell her who she is. Her mother, Mia, never let a day pass when she would not comment on Francesca's laziness, or talent, or passion. Her friend's at Stella's would compliment on her sweet and non-threatening nature. But in year eleven, Francesca has found herself St. Sebastian's - an all boys school that has recently started accepting girls. Forced out of her contented niche at St. Stella's, she fears she is invisible, believes she is silent and comes to the startling realisation that her identity may well be gone forever. The fact that her manipulative and over-bearing, but deeply relied upon and loved mother, has taken to her bed with depression, adds to Francesca's worries. It appears that life could not get any worse, and Francesca sets out on a turbulent journey to retrieve her identity and survive her mother's illness.

Saving Francesca takes place in terms two and three of Francesca's eleventh year at school. It is the winter of Mia's breakdown, and it explores the tumultuous life of Francesca as she strives to find herself, cope with her demanding load at school and the complex and totally debilitated Mia. Her journey is a tough one, but Francesca has not counted on the ferocious loyalty of her extraordinary new friends, or falling in love, or discovering that it is within her power to hold her family together.

Saving Francesca involves many secondary characters which support and sometimes hamper Francesca on her way. Mia, with her insistent manner, contributes very little to her daughter's life throughout the novel, however she is the narrative cogency behind Francesca's journey. Francesca initially resents her father Rob, as she blames him for her mother's illness as she tries to come to terms with Mia's nervous breakdown. She and her beloved younger brother Luca share a special union, and together they experience many confronting incidents which occur during the time of Mia's suffering. As well as Francesca's immediate family, there is her extended Italian family, her former girlfriends at St. Stella's, and her new friends and teachers at St. Sebastian's - with whom, almost reluctantly, she is forming unexpected but strong friendships. And finally, there is Will Trombal, with whom - despite her better instincts - she falls in love. Put with the contradictive themes the novel possesses, the contrasting cast of characters make Saving Francesca a motivating and inspiring novel.

Author Melina Marchetta quickly establishes Francesca's dry, unassuming and sardonic tone and uses it to dexterously narrate the many issues of reality Francesca is facing. Popular culture, as well as flashbacks and humour, are devices Marchetta uses to a strong sense of place and three-dimensional characters. She employs a clever use of the central character's memories to explore Francesca's flexible understanding of herself and of her family and friendships. Identity, friendship, family and depression are thematically the novel's focus, however as with her last novel, these `teen' themes are introduced naturally.

Saving Francesca is a genuinely uplifting novel, and the work of a mature writer. At the heart of Francesca's deeply moving and satisfying story, is the long and enduring discovery of the self she abandoned long ago. Suffering from a sense of adolescent helplessness that is all too real, Francesca's challenges at school are played out against a downwardly spiralling family situation. Saving Francesca is humorous, insightful and written in a language and style accessible to ages fourteen and above.

Highly recommended.
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