A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley - A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords...
CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.
ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.
Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive. From Amazon US
I have absolutely no idea how I could possibly do this book justice with a review. It's beautiful, it's sad, it leaves you aching. It's absolutely wonderful.
I'm having trouble knowing where to start. Both Rose and Charlie want something. Rose, to get out of the town she's lived all her life and learn more. Science is her favourite subject, and has such wonder over learning. She can't see any future in her little town, and knows if she doesn't get out now, she never will. Charlie, to be noticed by her Dad, mostly, but also by people in general and to have someone who gets her. Although she's a brilliant musician, song writer, and singer, she's terribly shy and so hardly anyone knows. With the death of her grandmother seven months ago, Charlie knows Christmas won't be the same this year, not with both her Grandpa and her Dad mourning their wives - even though Charlie's Mum died seven years ago - and not coping too well. Even Charlie has "ghosts" of both her Gran and her Mum with her, who she talks to.
It's hard to read A Little Wanting Song when the characters desperately want, so much. Their hearts reach out so far, dying to grab hold of what it is they want, but slipping through their fingers everytime. You end up wanting right along with them, and it's depressing, but in a really good way. There's no way you can read this book without being affected by it. It's complete and utter yearning at it's very rawest.
The language! God, I couldn't get enough of the language! It was like chocolate. You know when you eat chocolate slowly and it melts in your mouth, you could just die because that has to be what heaven tastes like? That's what the language of A Little Wanting Song is like. It's beautiful, it's poetic, it's just gorgeous. You almost want to read it outloud, just so you can hear it. Like music to your ears.
Talking of music, this book is full of music. Charlie has a unique way of seeing the world. Music is her life, and so everything is described with musical metaphors; sounds, playing instruments, she sees music in everything - literally, even sun rises have "sound". It just goes back to what I said about the language. It's just amazing.
As I've read this book for Death and Bereavement in Teen Lit Week, I should cover the bereavement in more detail. What's interesting in this book is it's not just Charlie who is grieving, so is her father and her grandfather over two deaths, and nor is she the one who's coping the worst. Her Grandpa doesn't want to get up most days, and her Dad goes out at night and doesn't come back til late, and barely acknowledges Charlie's existance. Not only is she having to cope with her own grief, but also feeling like she's practically orphaned. It's extremely sad, and Crowley writes Charlie's own and the others' turmoil so well. As I said before, you can't read this book without being effected by it.
An extremely good book. I will definitely be on the look out for other books by Crowley. You can't miss this book.
Thank you to Luisa from Chicklish for lending me her copy.
Published: 8th June 2010
Buy on Amazon US
Cath Crowley's Website
Other Reviews of A Little Wanting Song:
The Crooked Shelf