Review: Alice Pung – Laurinda

Alice Pung

Linh Lucy Lam has never seen herself as a bright scholar, but she persists in trying to please her parents. After ‘beating’ the local Asian genius to get a place at a private high school, Lucy finds herself being torn apart by who she think she is, and who she might become.

22603951I listened to this as a talking book, and I have to say the reader was pretty amazing! Even my partner enjoyed listening to it. That being said though, that was what kept me listening, not the story itself. What was the point of this novel? Why would I care about Lucy? I cared about her little brother Lamb-ey more than anything else.

What I didn’t understand for the majority of the novel was who ‘Linh’ that Lucy was writing to was. I think, and I may be wrong, is that Linh is Lucy, but her true Asian (somewhat bogan) self. I couldn’t understand why Linh would leave if she was a real person. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Lucy is super self-aware, and she’s aware of how stupid adults are. We see through her eyes what rich people are like – the question is whether this really how they are? I don’t know enough private schools to tell you. Bullying at high schools is normal, there’s even bullying of teachers, although perhaps not as dramatic as a tampon to the forehead… I certainly remember our public high school class evicting one poor teacher who we viewed as incompetent.

I don’t think I was satisfied by the ending. Yes Lucy managed to overcome things and become more of herself, but I wasn’t enthralled with her ‘amazing’ speech at the end. It all seemed too neat. Neat. Yes. That’s what this novel was in a nut shell. For all that it was exposing and trying to highlight the interesting nuances of multicultural Australia, it sometimes seemed to dig itself too deep a hole – then just fill it in with one well-placed sentence.

I’ll be giving this 3 stars. There are better novels out there, but if you want something easy to listen to that doesn’t require any thinking (or a light teenage novel), this one could fit the bill.


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