Sunday, 4 September 2011

Becoming Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty

Bindy Mackenzie is the smartest − and kindest − girl at Ashbury High. She likes to share her knowledge and offers lunchtime advisory sessions in a relaxed setting (the locker room). But when Bindy discovers that, despite all her hard work, nobody likes her, benevolent Bindy is banished − ruthless Bindy is about to be unleashed. Bindy records every moment of her new rebellious life in a project − from The Philosophical Musings of B. Mackenzie to extracts from her essays. But her scrapbook is also the key to a bizarre mystery − with Bindy herself at the centre. Only her friends can help her now. If only she had some.

As I said in my previous review on one of Jaclyn Moriarty's other novels, Dreaming of Amelia, I read Becoming Bindy Mackenzie a couple of years back and didn't remember much about it. So I decided I would re-read it - and i loved it! Again in this book, I re-met some of the characters I had read in the other book: Emily, Astrid, Lydia, Cassie and Toby - along with new characters Emily, Sergio, Briony and Finnegan (although Becoming Bindy Mackenzie was published before Dreaming of Amelia - and Bindy was, in fact, in DoA). So when I started, I was already fairly familiar with some of the characters - but not the main one, Bindy. Bindy Mackenzie is the replicar of that one girl each of us has in our year: constantly recieving praise from teachers, getting countless awards, always getting top marks in essays and tests - that one girl that we can find patronising and annoying. So as I read this book, it was quite eye-opening to see the life through someone elses eyes - and you actually realize how hard it is to keep being at the top, and how much Bindy has actually sacrificed to get to where she is. But then disaster strikes as Bindy tries to be nice to her fellow pupils and finds out that they are not actually at all fond of her - or so it seems. So she sets out to try and be ruthless and horrid, by comparing each of the seven pupils in her FAD group (Friendship and Development group, where eight pupils get together to relax and speak about their stresses and worries) to poisonous and venomous animals. As the novel slowly unwinds, you share a coming-of-age journey with Bindy, and even though she is rather annoying in the beginning, I found that I grew fond of her throughout the tale. One of the things I find unique to Moriarty's stories is that throughout the novel, a conspiracy forming that is only revealed in the last few chapters of the book - so as the reader starts to get tired of the long story, a massive plot is dropped on their heads. And you know what? It absolutely works. The best thing about it is that you have no real clue of it even existing until it is basically spelt out in front of you. It makes her novels even better, and you find yourself looking back through the book to spot the clues and hints of what was going on. I really enjoyed it, and I think I read about half of it in a couple of hours. Brilliant work!

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