A story of sisterhood, solidarity, and finding your place in a changing world, A GIRL IN THREE PARTS is part Eighth Grade, part Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and entirely original.
Allegra Elsom is caught in the middle. Some days she's eleven, and others she feels closer to nineteen. Some days she knows too much, and others she feels hopelessly naive. Some days she is split in three, torn between conflicting loyalties to her grandmothers, Matilde and Joy, and her father, Rick--none of whom can stand to be in a room together since the decades-old tragedy that hit their family like a wrecking ball.
Allegra struggles to make peace in her family and navigate the social gauntlet at school while asking bigger questions about her place in the world: What does it mean to be "liberated"? What is it about "becoming a woman" that earns her a slap in the face? What does it mean to do the right thing, when everyone around her defines it differently?
As the feminist movement reshapes her Sydney suburb, Allegra makes her own path--discovering firsthand the incredible ways that women can support each other, and finding strength within herself to stand up to the people she loves.
Readers will not soon forget Suzanne Daniel's poignant debut, or the spirit of sisterhood that sings out from its pages.
Set in the early 1970s in a Sydney, Australia suburb, this emotionally nuanced coming-of-age tale follows Allegra Elsom for a year and a half beginning at age 11, as she begins to question why the three devoted adults raising her seem to hate each other. Allegra lives with practical Matilde, her deceased mother's mother, a Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivor who nourishes Allegra with homegrown food and keeps her on a strict study schedule. Next door, her paternal grandmother, artistic Joy, who is Catholic, collects her own tears in labeled glass bottles, grows a garden to delight the senses, and urges Allegra to "decide your own course and steer your own ship." In a nearby apartment lives her father Rick, a gentle carpenter and surfer, who has ceded parental authority. Daniel's debut paints the family's drama against a vivid backdrop of the 1970s feminist movement, as seamstress Matilde gets castigated for strikebreaking, and domestic violence and a botched abortion have lasting ramifications for the community. Daniel unpacks the psychological cost of family secrets through Allegra's compelling narrative voice, which deftly captures the awkward transition into teendom and empowerment. Ages 12 up.