Saturday, November 20, 2010

Emily Green and Me - A Review

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Books International for the purpose of a review. The views expressed here are honest are in no way influenced by the author or the publisher.


After years of illness, eleven-year-old Emily receives the heart of a seventeen-year-old boy who has died in a motor-bike accident. But the organ comes with an attachment: the boy who had it first is still hanging around. From 'up-there' he watches as she recovers - sometimes exasperated, other times with heart-warming tenderness.

Their worlds couldn't be more different. Emily is from upper-middle class Cape Town and the boy was from poor plot-dwelling folk living near Johannesburg. While Emily struggles with becoming a teenager, the boy's interjections are a laugh a minute - not even death can dampen his streetwise spirit.

Following the closely-linked fates of these two endearing characters, 'Emily Green and Me' is the poignant story of one life interrupted and one that is just unfolding. A book for all of us who blink at the twin stars of life and death, and all that lies between.

My Review

I've been trying to put my thoughts together on this book all day today and i have written and re-written this review more times than i would like to remember. Every time i put my thoughts together i feel as though I am not telling the whole story. Emily Green and Me is complex but not to the extent where you would be analyzing every inch of the story. Its also a story about love, loss and hope for the future. Let us hope that the following does the book some justice

Emily Green and Me is a Young Adult novel, centered around a young girl named Emily Green.  After years of suffering from heart disease, she receives a replacement from a 17 year old male. Unfortunately this character remains nameless through the entire book but his presence is prominent. John (our nameless character) died in an untimely death and has some loose ends to tie up. Having his heart placed in Emily's body allows him to maneuver his way to get those ends tied. What happens as a result exposes Emily and her family to cultures that have always been in their grasp.

The story is mostly told in third person omniscient which gives the reader an insight into all of the characters thoughts and feelings. It is though being a teenager and it was equally hard being in Emily's head however her character was matched well with the effervescence of John who incidentally, is never to far away in this story.

Underpinning  the plot is the social and cultural history of South Africa which readers will find very compelling. Readers are exposed to elements of South African society such as the self imposed seclusion of whites in Cape Town as opposed to the openness in Johannesburg. It was also interesting to learn about the BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) or black men who are replacing the white CEO's in may companies in South Africa. I felt that even though this story is largely fiction, elements such as these made the story very realistic.

I had my questions or rather a scratch-my head moment at the end of the book.  I couldn't help but wonder if john was pursuing his own selfish needs or if he really was trying to help Emily through a formidable period in her life. Yet, i enjoyed the story. I enjoyed the witty prose that kept me floating on the golden rays of the South African sun and i enjoyed getting to know Emily Green and her family.

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