Broken by Elizabeth Pulford
A few years ago ‘stream of consciousness’ was a very popular technique in writing for young adults. Unless handled very carefully, novels written in this style could be confusing and very difficult to read. As more and more young people are reluctant to read today, most will not make the effort to make sense of these. So it was very surprising when I picked up Pulford’s latest novel which is very much in that style, although perhaps a more accurate description would be ‘stream of unconsciousness.
Zara has been critically injured in a motorcycle accident that killed her beloved brother Jem. This is her story of her thoughts and feelings while in a coma. Visitors arrive continually and talk to her and some of their conversations are included along with the replies Zara would make if she could. More important is her search for her brother. Her mind creates her brother’s favourite comic world and she moves through the pages, drawing and erasing as necessary to avoid the bad guys and find where her brother has gone. Intermingled with these passages are memories, sometimes linked to the current visitor, and others of a traumatic experience she had as a child. Zara had only shared this story with her brother. Some memories can not be kept secret.
Most stream of consciousness books used different typefaces for the different voices. This follows that convention, but also moves to a graphic novel format for critical events. Usually this form only goes for a few frames, nothing like a full page. This mixture of media works brilliantly.
Another excellent offering from this wonderful author.