The Place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I struggled to rate this book, as it had moments where I found it extremely wonderful and profound. There just weren’t enough of those moments to make me like it, and I had to struggle through to the ending. This was a book club selection, as we had previously read, ‘Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil’ by the same author. It will make for an interesting discussion as I feel that it encompasses different target audiences in different ways, so in that respect it was good.
The premise drew me in straight away. Two women who feel they have a claim to one house, refuse to meet in the middle, and live together without speaking. Loved it, could go so many places – unfortunately, the idea that Rosie had any claim to the house was ridiculous, and the drama around the two women was not as interesting as it could have been.
Really, I just absolutely loathed Rosie. I could not stand her attitude, her failure to take any responsibility for decisions she made that eroded her relationship to her father, and her caustic manner towards every other person, and her idea that she should be able to make Martha’s life hell just because she lived in a house when she was little. What a brat. Unfortunately, by the time Rosie starts to become less frustrating, it’s too late in the novel and I had given up on her and just wanted to see the ending.
The author struck one important issue, that I found interesting, which was that adults even in to their mid-twenties are quite immature, in comparison to previous generations (I am part of Gen Y, so this isn’t meant as an insult, just a general observation).
Jimmy/SES Jesus, was the saving character, he was lovely. A well-rounded and fun character that has a clear development that is realistic and meaningful. Martha and her friends were also great additions – the whole netball team was gold!
However, there were too many characters for me to remember, and how they related to each other. The connected-ness was nice, although perhaps unnecessary in some ways. It created a wonderful sense of community, and I did feel like I was in the room with those friends when they were talking – I just wouldn’t have known who they were, and who was together with who, and why that was relevant.
For me, there was too much going on, too many characters that had focus on them for no real reason, and an incredibly un-likeable main character that had no redeeming qualities for me to latch on to at all. Loved the premise, but I needed more storyline, and less stories that went nowhere that seemed to have no outcome on the story.