This was my first Nick Earls book I’ve read, and I was not disappointed. Monica Bloom is set in Brisbane, following Matt Sherman’s final year at high school.
The novel is a brutally honest story of the common goings on of life as a teenager, what with the ups and downs of friendships and relationships with those at school and within the family. After each chapter I would sit silently, reflecting on the words I had absorbed, the stories that had torn at my heart, and physically feeling for these fictional characters. Perhaps it was the realness which was on every line, and the way Earls managed to turn the normalcy of teenage-dom, into something of beauty. Or perhaps it was the way which I, and I imagine most people, was able to relate to so many of the goings on, throughout the story.
What I would describe almost as a short story, was, in my mind, flawless. Albeit short, the characters’ development was not lacking, nor were the relationships that evolved, line after line, page after page.
I would describe the concept of the novel as a simple, teenage, reality. However the simplicity of the story and of the writing itself, was by no means a bad thing, quite the contrary. I was lead to feel what the characters felt, visualise their surrounds, and predict, yet still sympathise, with what each of their futures’ held.
As I sprinted through Monica Bloom, I found myself wanting more, mostly in the length of the novel, however not being displeased with the direction the book took, nor the ending it so fittingly became.
I was left wanting more from Nick Earls, and wondering why I hadn’t been introduced earlier.
Monica Bloom, by Nick Earls – 9/10