Blank by Trina St. Jean

blank pic 1Blank by Trina St.

Published by Orca Book publishers : c2015: 301p.

[Digital ARC generously supplied by J. Cameron ]

A shattered image.

A girl starring out at the onlooker.

An evocative and riveting cover that will seize any reader!

This gritty, in your face debut novel by Canadian author Trina St.Jean, ‘grabbed’ me from the beginning sentences and the development of the fast pace keeps a reader totally enwrapped within this thought- provoking narrative.

“Accident”

“Coma”

“Recovery”

All three words are a nightmare to those waiting for someone to awake, yet even scarier for a victim. Upon waking, St.Jean’s central character, ‘fifteen year old Jessica succinctly expresses her own growing fear and confusion.  “But my old life is a long blank that my brain no longer fills in for me.”p.5

Addressing herself as Girl/ Jessica is swamped by stark disconnected feelings where doubt and anger seesaw with sadness and confusion.

You can feel the struggles that ‘Jessica/Girl’ is dealing with as her moods vacillate between emotion and reaction. Despite a supportive network of family and medical staff, she (Jessica/Girl) finds that even constant exposure to long time friends and ‘normal’ daily activities only enhance her feeling of frustration. As a result, over hearing a conversation or her own random thoughts, trigger unpredictable and volatile behaviour.

Questions about her former self, guilt and a host of other mixed up emotion stream through her consciousness upsetting any attempt to find a balance between what she feels are her two warring personalities. It is the chance find of a journal and a scarf that point in her a direction that could provide a resolution in accepting who she now has become.

This psychologically probing novel brings to light how bewildering and complex multiple layers of a brain injury can be through the simple question that Jessica/Girl asks, what is ‘normal’ ?

TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) often not understood and is usually associated with sports, is adeptly highlighted in this narrative. Girl/Jessica’s journey of recovery and rediscovery underlines the fact that a that brain injury can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone and leave a ‘blank’!

Highly Recommended for Intermediate Grades!!

4 stars out of 5!

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