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Precocious 'Can there be a unreliable narrator than a teenage girl'Fiona Palmer is unhappily married when a chance meeting with her former teacher plunges her headlong into an affairIntercut with the realities of their adult relationship Fiona remembers first meeting the enigmatic Henry Morgan as a precocious and lonely fourteen year old Her schoolgirl crush developed into an intense relationship but it was always one which she controlledOr did she I don’t know what to say about this book it was written really well but I’m not sure how I feel about it I didn’t really like any of the characters especially fee or Morgan which I suppose is a sign of a good book as sometimes you just don’t like the characters Although towards the end I did start to see why fee was the way she was and did highlight how things can be taken out of context and taken advantage of with effects years later or that have been carried around through life It was at time an uncomfortable read highlighting a difficult subject matter which I thought the author did sensitively A schoolgirl crush is almost a rite of passage An influential teacher A bright young girl A love of literature and a disdain for frivolity Fifteen year old Fiona Palmer idolises her English teacher Henry Morgan and he returns her unwavering attention A line is crossed but just who is to blame?Years later Fiona now married bumps into her former teacher and the passion inside her is reignited almost at once Their past is not long becoming the present but can they stop it before someone gets hurt? Can a precocious child and an enigmatic teacher work together with no sexual involvement? Can a mutual respect for each other remain innocent? Does age really matter? Joanna Barnard askes these uestions and within the pages of her debut novel It is a story of obsession trust honesty and betrayal A coming of age tale with a sting in its taleAlthough this is not an original idea the concept of a teacherpupil relationship is addressed in a slightly different way This time the narrator is a thirty year old married woman recalling her experiences as a fifteen year old student in love with her mentor She almost loves him before even setting eyes on him as he is extremely popular with the students of the school In his twenties handsome in an intelligent way he is a bit of an enigma and this appeals very much to the unusual Fiona She is the stereo typical angst ridden teen with dreams of becoming a writer and being different to her peers Mr Morgan spots this trait and plays on it However Fiona is also very adept at playing the game of seduction Is it as simple as abuse of authority or does some blame lie with the ‘mature’ nature of Fiona? The author divides the narrative between the two frames fairly eually with Fiona guiding us through past and present It becomes very obvious that she is not a nice person Not at all Neither is Henry They are well matched Both narcissists both void of genuine emotion and neither having an ounce of compassion for anyone but themselves There are secrets lies and hidden agendas from both ends Manipulation and desperation ooze from the pages of this novel and the writing is superb The detail within the story is finely tuned and the prose is delicate yet simultaneously harsh There is however a lot of repetition and it dragged on in places The ending was also a let down for me as once again the precocious protagonist walks away unhindered and unharmed Overall a beautifully written book with a clever character driven plot It was just lacking something which I can’t put my finger on In Precocious Joanna Bernard's protagonist Fiona Palmer has never forgotten her first love She was just fourteen a bright but lonely girl when she developed a crush on her handsome and attentive English teacher Henry Morgan and the two plunged head long into an all consuming affair Fiona is now thirty and when a chance meeting with Henry highlights the mediocrity of her marriage and career she abandons both to recapture the passion and excitement of their once illicit relationship Moving between the present and past Barnard details the evolution of the relationship between Fiona and Henry Fiona's teenage diary entries and recollections reveal her vulnerability and angst chronicling her schoolgirl crush and her growing determination to seduce Mr Morgan When I think about it I have really sort of worked on him and I feel like I'm getting somewhere In the space of about a year I've decided I would get close to him and I have I have got a tiny piece of HM but it gives me hope I will get all of him somedayFiona's second tense present voice details their reunion as adults her obsessive desire to reignite their relationship and to finally become his legitimate lover an eual partner You are everywhereHM Your initials I see them in car registrations and my heart skips a beat I seek out the letters H and M in newspapers and draw them together with my eyes HMHim Him him him You you you Parasite of my thoughts But as the story progresses Fiona's fairytale notions are slowly stripped away Morgan is revealed as a skilled manipulator and the ways in which he nurtured and inflamed Fiona's teenage devotion become clear While Fiona has always been convinced she was the instigator of their relationship learning that she was not the first nor had been the last in a long line of student conuests she is forced to reexamine their past and present relationshipBarnard's exploration of the relationship is thoughtful avoiding sensationalism in favour of realism The writing is skilled with an immediate and intimate tone that draws the reader inCompelling and provocative Precocious is a thought provoking story about an unsettling subject Precocious is a story of how Fiona Palmer writes with enthusiasm in her diary on scraps of paper and notebooksYou assume of course that I kept a diary all those yearsScraps of paper Notebooks I don't know how much of it to believe myself to be honest Can there be a unreliable narrator than a teenage girl? This page turning scandal takes us through how Fiona meets up with her ex school teacher that she used to have a crush on There are some lessons you shouldn't learn in school At school fourteen year old Fiona had fallen in love with her teacher Henry Morgan Her crush developed into an intense relationship Fifteen years later married Fiona by chance meets up with her former school teacher again Are they both just becoming friends again or could it plunge into ? Fiona shares her secret with one of her best friends that she had just met up with her ex teacher Mr Morgan and went for a meal with him and that they kissed But Fiona is supposed to be married even though she thinks that she is unhappily married The reason why Fiona got married to Dave was to protect her from the catalogue of mini disappointments that surrounded her life The story of Precocious is a controversial compelling debut novel from an award winning writer Precocious is a Lolita for the modern ageI would like to thank the publisher for sending me a proof copy

  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • Precocious
  • Joanna Barnard
  • English
  • 08 June 2015
  • 9781785031229

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