Monday, December 23, 2013
REVIEW: Red Ink by Julie Mayhew
Guest review by Kulsuma
The synopsis for Red Ink by Julie Mayhew is great. Fifteen year old Melon’s mother is killed when she is run over by a bus and Melon now has no family to speak of. I picked up this book to see what Melon would find out about herself after her mother’s death, what family she might find and how she would deal with having a name like Melon. The story is told in a non-linear fashion; showing flashbacks to when Melon’s mother was still alive. Also, time and again, we are told ‘The Story’; the story of how Melon got her unusual name. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I wanted to.
From the beginning, we know that Melon’s relationship with her mother wasn’t the most loving. However, I wanted to see if any explanation would be offered through the flashbacks as to why that was. In truth I didn’t enjoy Red Ink because it was a story about the relationship between a mother and a daughter but Melon’s mother never redeemed herself in my eyes.
They simply didn’t understand each other. There were too many lies between them. Melon herself didn’t seem to forgive her. One scene which really stuck with me was when Melon asks her mother once again why she called her Melon and her mother simply laughs at her, asking if she was being teased at school because of it. I couldn’t understand this puzzling behaviour; why would a mother find her child being teased about her name so amusing?
When the ‘true story’ comes out, it is shocking and sad, but not unexpected. However, Melon’s reaction to it was over the top. Furthermore, the ending left much to be desired. I didn’t think it was a ‘happy ending’ at all. What had Melon learnt on her journey? What had she learnt from her mother’s story? Nothing, it seemed. I didn’t enjoy Red Ink because I didn’t understand Melon’s motives for some of the decisions she makes, particularly at the end.
Overall, while I didn’t enjoy this story, I believe there are many people who will. The writing was beautiful and vivid but on the whole, I didn’t love the story.
Thank you for that, Kulsuma!