Thursday, May 28, 2015

Asylum by Isobel Blackthorn


Isobel Blackthorn

Ratings and Recommendations

Rating:4 teacups


Book Club Worthy: Hampton Roads Book Club 
                  July 2015 


When life does not go the way the Yvette Grimm plans, she seeks asylum in Australia knowing the only way to stay is to get married; as she will not qualify under family unification laws to reunite with her mother and sister. What will happen if she overstays her holiday visa? She is free to roam the country against the backdrop of “legitimate” asylum seekers who have no other place to go and are running for their lives instead of just heartbreak and disappointment in Malta are kept in penal colony like conditions on smaller outer islands from the mainland…?

This book rated a 4 for a few reasons. While it was humorous in a sad way at times, it seems that Yvette is destined to stay the same throughout. There is hope that she may do more growing as a character a few times in the book, but she chooses to be herself and remain self-centered and resist change that could be for the better. She chooses to buy into a prediction made by a fortune teller that makes the choices she makes easier for her and lessen what might have been some responsibility at all in her life. I am not sure this is what the author was going for, but, I am hoping this is not the case. 

Another aspect that bothers me about the subject matter is that Yvette makes all the right noises about caring for the boat people and their actual need for asylum and seeing her own plight as not quite as deserving, however, gets her dander up when she is treated like an “illegal” for not having a state issued medical insurance card. She feels guilty about having the freedom of being on a holiday visa while the boat people are detained and never even see the mainland of Australia on one hand. Then she get quite angry when she is treated the same as any other person with no insurance would be treated by the medical system, so even she sees herself as the same but somehow different.

Even with the two exceptions above, the book is quite comical in the way that Yvette acts and sees others and herself. She easily overlooks the log in her eye and is willing to point out the splinter in someone else’s eye. She seems quite willing to overlook the amount of people willing to help her out while feeling quite sorry for herself also, but rallies just in time to let someone else help take care of her. It is a fast read because you cannot wait to see what else she is going to do to further herself from her goals.

Is this the novel for you? Do you like your serious subjects with a large grain of salt and a serious side of funny? Do you like to look at topics from a wickedly twisted way that puts normal on its head? Can you watch the main character pass up a number of humorous chances to change for the better and just say not gonna do it? Then this is the one for you.


*I would like to thank Odyssey Books via NetGALLEY for giving me an unreleased copy for an honest and fair review.

If you buy this book through the above link money is generated, however, donated to the non-profit American Association of University Women (AAUW). 


AAUW works empowering women, since 1881, standing up for causes in the areas of educational, social, economic and political issues especially important to women. Marie Currie was one of the first beneficiaries of the group that would become AAUW receiving monetary help to attend college. I am a proud member and believe that the profit from books seems a fitting donation.

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