Saturday, August 19, 2006

Letters from the Inside

Well, that's two articles down and one book read from cover to cover. In some ways I wish I'd read it (John Marsden ~ Letters from the Inside) before we covered it in class, but on the other hand it made taking notes a lot easier when I had an idea what to look out for. It does mean though that it's hard to read without being aware of your own biases. I think that even if I hadn't already known that Tracey was in prison that I would have guessed, like Mandy, that something was up because her life simply sounded too damn perfect. Plus, there was no bitching about little things like in Mandy's letters - backstabbing friends or dumb boys or annoyances at school. I agree with the general consensus that Mandy must have ended up dead, and her whole family, shot up by nutso Steve, for the letters to have all come back 'Return to Sender'. Besides, the ending was a bit like watching an American tv show where they feel the need to spell everything out, just in case 'you didn't get it' from the little clues. Trace's dreams of knives, guns, blood and violence are pretty obviously meant to spell things out, as is Mandy's last letter where she's only half joking about being afraid that Steve's going to walk into a McDonald's or someplace and shoot everyone in the place. The story's not really about 'Young Man shoots whole family dead' or the media spin that would accompany it. Mandy's death is an ending (unless she' going to keep writing from beyond the grave) but it's not really what the story's about. I do find it interesting though that he manages to take such a major event and make it a very much secondary part of the novel rather than the focus.


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