Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publication Date: November 2010
Revolution is something special. Something else. Not only was it completely different from what I was expecting it to be but the story also surpassed my expectations considerably.
I loved the writing style, it’s incredibly unique and enthralling and I found that Andi’s narrative voice was a darker cross between Juno and Olive Penderghast – both of whom I love. Along this line there were some great word play used throughout the story, all of which I found hilarious, such as Boredoisie, the Shamptons and many to do with Vijay’s mum – Vietmom, Atom mom, Momsoon, Momshell, Flesh eating Mombie – the list goes on!
Speaking of Vijay’s mum there was also great secondary characters that seemed realistic and essential to the enjoyment of the story, who although you didn’t see character development added an extra dimension to the plot. My favourites were Vijay’s mum and Jimmy Shoes.
The majority of the book is set in Paris, I loved how it was presented through Andi’s eyes; as someone who could speak fluent French and immersed herself in the artist culture of the city. (This aspect was probably enhanced because whilst I was reading it the French elections were going on and the day I finished it was the day Francois Hollande won) I also found it hilarious the frequent references to striking. In Paris she meets Virgil, a French rap artist; I loved his relationship with Andi, especially their phones calls. Its gradual progression made it sweet and endearing and also I loved the emphasis that having a romantic relationship with someone is so much more than making out or sleeping with them. Whilst there was this relationship it definitely was not one of the key parts to the story and its understated nature made me appreciate it more.
A major part of the plot was Andi and her obsession with music, especially Amadé Malherbeau. I loved her passionate reverence for it and you could tell how much she truly appreciated it. There’s nothing I hate more then when a character apparently has some hobby or favourite thing yet it is never shown. Not Andi - her fervent and fanatical love for music was apparent, “Because there’s nothing I love more than a good, freaky tritone,” and how she used music as an escape, like most people do, using it as a coping mechanism. The music helped her get by, “One note at a time,”
Another thing I loved was that Revolution had a great balance between light and dark in both plot and humour. Whilst the plot has many dark sides - Andi’s brother has died and she has gained another obsession, a dead girl’s diary from the French Revolution – but this only enhanced Andi’s journey for me. I couldn’t help but feel compelled to hope the best for her whilst Donnelly presented her hardships in one of the best manners I’ve ever seen. Andi’s pain felt tangible and real – the realist pain, anger and heartache I’ve read in a long time.
I would say now, something I know I didn’t expect and some might find off putting, Andi travels back in time to the French revolution. We, as readers, never know if this was real or was just in Andi’s drugged mind but I think that’s important to know if you are going to read this story. I found myself enjoying this part of the story. It is an incredibly interesting period of history that I'd love to learn more about. Going back in time emphasised Andi’s relationship with Alexandrine, the girl from the diary. This regression or vision helped Andi move forwards and with it gained an insight into all that she was suffering from - I loved the message and moral of the story. Also the balance between present day and the historical part of the novel was very well executed and you didn't feel like you had too much of either.
How to sum up Revolution? It made me laugh, cry and left me smiling and feeling grateful that I took the time to read this. I can’t express my love anymore except by saying that Revolution probably will be on ‘The Shelf’. Revolution is a brilliant and worthwhile read that I believe has something for everyone.