Allegra is 11 years old, living in suburban Sydney in the 1970s with her dad Rick and grandmother Mathilde at number 23, and grandmother Joy at number 25. Her mother died when she was very small, and her memory of her is very hazy. Narrated by Allegra, she has little understanding of why this situation is so, only knowing that she constantly feels herself torn into two between her loving but vastly different grandmothers, and the emotionally distant figure of her father.
Allegra is a smart wee girl, extraordinarily sensitive to those around her, in the process navigating the classroom ghastliness of 11 year old girls and keeping her grandmothers happy. Not easy when they can’t stand each other. And yet Allegra does not know why this is. Her growing friendship of fellow outsider young Aborigine girl Patricia further sets her apart from the rest of her class, but not from her teacher Sister Josepha.
1970s Australia is not an easy place for women, and the growing awareness Allegra is finding of the world around her puts her and those she loves on a collision course.
This book could leave you with a tear in your eye. This novel is marketed as teen/YA fiction/coming of age fiction. But is equally enjoyable and meaningful for everyone else. I loved this – all about what it means to belong to a family and to be loved.
Reviewed by Felicity Murray
Allegra in Three Parts
by Suzanne Daniel
Published by Macmillan