Goobie, Beth. Something Girl (Orca Soundings). Orca, 2005. ISBN 978-1551433479 $7.95
For fans of Dave Pelzer’s A Child Called It (HCI, 1995) comes this heartbreaking and haunting story about a girl whose spirit and self esteem are broken by a Jekyll/Hyde father. Convinced there is something wrong with her, 15-year-old Sophie accepts his frequent and brutal beatings as her due, thinking that her unpredictable father loves her enough to discipline her so she can learn. Her alcoholic, co-dependent mother does nothing to intercede, and a teacher makes an attempt that is brushed aside. Luckily, a friend and neighbor come to the rescue when the dad finally puts her into a hospital after a severe beating: because the telephone rang while he was with a real estate client. Oh, and eating a hamburger. Seeing his daughter EAT set him off. The Canadian equivalent of DDS intervenes to save the girl, who finally recognizes she IS worth saving and IS worth something. In traditional YA novel form, the book ends with the character’s new beginning.
Goobie excels at tightly written novels that subtly reveal plot and character through perfectly chosen, perfectly placed detail. To accomplish this in such a limited space — only 105 pages — and at such accessible reading level — 2.8 — is astounding.
Children need to see titles such as these in library collections, because some of them may be living an existence close to this work of fiction. The only way the book could have been improved would be to include a few resources in a brief appendix: perhaps that will come in the Soundings teacher’s guide that I am sure is forthcoming. Highly recommended.
review by Beth Gallaway