I feel like in our Canadian Young Adult Literature class we have talked a lot about The Shore Girl by Fran Kimmel. It seems to me that the consensus of the class though was that if we wouldn’t have had to read this text specifically for class it might not be a book that any of us would continue. Some of the reasons given for not wanting to continue the novel was because the book was slow, too much fragmentation, and the lack of knowledge about Rebee as a character. Even though I agree with these observations to some degree I on the other hand also really appreciated the novel. I mean I agree that I might not have thought to pick this book up if I saw it in Chapters or Indigo. Mainly because it isn’t really part of my typical genre of young adult books that I go for, I am more of the fantasy/fast action paced novel reader. Despite this I still think this book has a really important place as a young adult text.
When I picked it up and started reading it my first fascination was with the different narrators. Yes, this can be seen as a negative because we don’t know what Rebee is thinking but I also think that this is what makes the novel so fascinating. In my experience with young adult literature most of them are in first person where we see everything through the the main character or protagonists eyes. The Shore Girl slightly follows this by having some chapters that are in Rebee’s perspective but it also has perspectives in other character’s eyes. I think this way we get more of a realistic depiction of who someone is. Most people are not simply described as who they are simply by their own thoughts but also the perception of others plays a big role in an individual’s identity. I think that is what makes The Shore Girl a very interesting book once you get past the pace, fragmentation, and the shifting of narration you can appreciate the different way it deals with character identity. This is an accurate depiction of what life can be like sometimes. Even though I might not have picked up this book myself I think that reading it has created an experience that I haven’t experienced in much other young adult literature I have read. This book truly is about the perceptions of how one views another.
Before, I wrote this blog post I decided to Google The Shore Girl to see what came up and someone had posted an interesting picture specifically related to the novel that said:
Since I was discussing earlier that this novel emphasizes the perceptions of others this quote seems to describe the purpose for that exactly. Since we are able to see how other people view Rebee we are able to understand why people such as Miss. Bel, Jake, Joey, and Aunt Vic are so enthralled with her and her situation. We get this missing puzzle piece about Rebee that we might not have gotten if we hadn’t seen the narration of her story through others.
She ties people in and we get to see that. I think this concept is really relatable for young adults because we all have people in our lives that we meet that maybe only touch our lives for a short time. We don’t always know what these important people are always thinking about us. If as readers we are supposed to be placing ourselves in the protagonist’s shoes in The Shore Girl unlike most novels, we get to see exactly how people think of “us”. I think that this effect becomes greater when there are certain situations where an individual specifically identifies with Rebee as a character. Therefore, Rebee who might feel as if she is unloved or has nobodym we as readers because of the shifting of narration discover that this is not the case. Instead it is Rebee’s inability to keep these ties that is really what inhibits her.