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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book review 'Being Magdalene' by Fleur Beale

This is the third in a series about children and teenagers in a Fundamentalist Christian sect. Sounds grim? No, it is a well written, simply written book, yet Fleur Beale manages to convey the problems her MC faces without being over-dramatic, melodramatic or sensational. She is writing about the freedom to choose, but she never hammers the theme home, she just shows us poor Magdalene struggling to be a good daughter and fit in.

The Pilgrim Family have been in the Sect for all the children's lives but the restrictions have been too much for some of them. In the earlier books we see Esther and Rebecca freeing themselves, here we have an excellent example of what happens to people who try to force themselves into a mould not of their making or choosing. Living this restricted life is actually driving Magdalene into mental distress. Thank heavens her younger sister, Zillah, needs protecting and ultimately thrusts them both into the 'Worldly' world where they can actually meet their banished sisters and brothers.

A very good book for making young readers think about individual rights, about making choices and about duty and self. Recommended for all and it would be a nice book for family read aloud sessions.