This review was written by Erin M, a young roving reporter for Youth Central at : http://www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/ . It truly did make me cry with happiness.
Originally criticised and mistaken for a novel that promoted teenage pregnancy, Mae-be Roses steps outside common conventions and addresses the tender topic of adolescent motherhood from the perspective of someone experiencing it.
Due to a negative response on the publishing front, Bloomer’s compelling story was turned down time and time again. The struggle to have Mae-be Roses published also reflects the attitude of the novel’s central character and her determination to achieve her goals, no matter how difficult.
Beautiful and deeply moving, the novel throws the reader into the mind of its seventeen-year-old protagonist, Mae Rose, as she makes the pivotal decision to inform those around her about her pregnancy.
We watch as Mae faces each trial as it comes, from discovering that her mother had also had a child as a young adult, to the highs and lows of her relationship and pregnancy and the unjustified assumptions of the community. Each event is described in such a manner that the reader has no choice but to relate to and empathise with Mae.
All Mae’s moments are left open for the reader to explore, whether they’re moments of strength, happiness, vulnerability or anger. Her passion is infectious and it is almost impossible not to feel as she does throughout the novel.
What is truly amazing about Mae-be Roses is its stubborn step away from the stereotypical depiction of a teen mum. Mae isn’t unstable, hasn’t suffered financial hardship and she isn’t hopelessly naive or a junkie, nor does she sleep around. Mae is just an average girl, a bundle of possibilities still learning about herself, her family and how to be a mother.
It is such a refreshing change to see this character beautifully portrayed as a new mother, not a defenceless teenager regretting her “mistakes”. Bloomer deserves much praise for her novel as she takes a formulaic scenario and manipulates it into a wonderful tale of discovery and love.
4.5 out of 5