She has parents, a brother, friends and a dog.
Sometimes the dog seems like the only one she can trust.
Her life is about to fall apart.
The dog is Checkers.
The book is unforgettable.
We never learn the name of the female protagonist. We know that she is in a psychiatric hospital but we do not know why. Slowly her story unravels as she writes in a notebook about the other patients in the adolescent ward and reflects on the events that brought her there. She writes about the political and financial scandal surrounding her dad's corporation and what it had to do with her beloved dog, Checkers.
In this book Marsden explores children having adult responsibilities and blame unfairly thrust upon them through the flashbacks. In the present he explores identity and mental disorders in teens, including obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and (male) anorexia. I always find her fellow patients interesting. For some reason I have always found Esther particularly memorable, who believes that she has an animal living in her head.
Checkers is a very brief read. My edition is only 123 pages long. Despite being so short it draws me in each and every time without fail. It is a book that I revisit frequently and I definitely recommend it as an easy introduction to the writings of the master of Australian young adult fiction, John Marsden.
I read this book as part of the Aussie Author Challenge.