With Lots of Love From Georgia, by Brigid Lowry

My name is Georgia. I live in a town called Anywhere that has too many shopping malls and not enough skate parks. I’m taller than most fifteen year olds and I weigh more too…I like to think of myself as a brilliant creative person, but sometimes I feel like a sad lonely girl with a big bum.

This is how Georgia introduces herself at the beginning of this first-person offering which has a diary-like feel to it. Georgia shares a slice of her life with honesty and humour.

Sometimes a troubled teen story can run the risk of being just that – the moanings of a troubled teen. At other times, such a novel can be moralistic (gently or otherwise) or produce an answer so cut and dried it is as if the character’s fairy godmother has waved a magic wand. With Lots of Love From Georgia does neither of these things. Like any teen, troubled or otherwise, Georgia is at times self-absorbed and sorry for herself. She has troubles: a father whose death eleven years ago she still feels achingly; a weight problem that makes her self-concious and lonely; and friendship problems with her best friend Mel and with a delicous boy who could never return her affections. But Georgia also finds joy – in the pleasures of talking to her rock-star idol Jakob’s photograph and in writing lists in her journal as well as in the connections she makes with real people, including her grandfather, her friends and various relatives.

Lowry makes Georgia believably real. She’s intelligent, insightful and wryly humorous, but she also has flaws, including her self-pity and her tendency to comfort-eat. The adult figures in the book are also realistically flawed. Georgia’s mother is compassionate and, at times, wise, but also struggles to communicate with her daughter and even to empathise. Grandad dishes out wisdom when needed, both to Georgia and her mother, but his advice isn’t always on track or on time.

With Lots of Love From Georgia is cleverly crafted. We see through Georgia’s eyes and yet we see more than Georgia, for we see her wisdom, her courage and her growth. It is both insightful and witty and teenage readers will not only enjoy it – they’ll believe in it.

WIth Lots of Love From Georgia, by Brigid Lowry
Allen & Unwin, 2005