A Small Madness, by Dianne Touchell

Rose didn’t tell anyone about it. She wondered if it showed. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned this way and then that way. She stood as close to the mirror as she could, leaning over the bathroom basin, looking into her own eyes until they disappeared behind the fog of her breath. Looking for something. Some evidence that she was different.

Rose and Michael are good kids. They work hard at school, are popular, and do what their parents tell them. But they are in love, and not as careful as they should be, and soon Rose is pregnant. The problem is, she is having trouble admitting it, even to herself. Michael struggles with the reality, too, and events spiral beyond his control. What happens is utterly devastating.

A Small Madness confronts the issues surrounding teen pregnancy in a way that will shock readers to the core. This is not a happy ever after story by any stretch of the imagination, but is absorbing and feels very real, exploring the possibilities of what can happen when teens feel shut off from support. Touchell does not try to cover all eventualities or to demonstrate how such a situation can be ‘fixed’, but the book will hopefully leave readers pondering how things can be, and the importance of finding ways through terrible situations.

An important, haunting, breathtaking book.


A Small Madness

A Small Madness, by Dianne Touchell
Allen & Unwin, 2015
ISBN 9781760110789

Available from good bookstores and online.