In the Key of Do:
Translated by Susan Ouriou

by Carole FrTchette
96 pages,
ISBN: 088995254X

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Children's Books
by Gillian Chan

In the Key of Do is a new novel from award winning writer Carole FrTchette, translated by Susan Ouriou. A small book in many ways¨short in length, small in the scope of its events¨it still manages to explore the intense, almost obsessive nature of teenage friendship very impressively.

VTro and Do (short for DolorFs) are two fourteen- year-olds who could not be more different. VTro is quiet, restrained emotionally, and would do anything to avoid drawing attention to herself. Do is flamboyant in dress and manner, couldn't care less what people think of her, and is ready to tackle anyone and anything. They are thrown together shortly after Do joins the school, and find that they enjoy each other's company, and that they both have problematic fathers. VTro's dad walked out when she was very small, and his absence defines her life. Do's father, charismatic, unreliable, and exciting is all too present in her life. The girls spend a summer working on one of Do's father's get-rich-quick schemes, cleaning up and selling the clothes of minor celebrities, dreaming of their futures, and eventually come up with the scheme of using the money he has promised to pay them to set out and find VTro's father.

Instead of employing, a conventional linear narrative, FrTchette chooses to reveal most of this story through flashbacks, using as her starting point, a chance glimpse VTro gets of Do on the street, two years after Do mysteriously disappeared, leaving VTro feeling betrayed and devastated. FrTchette moves effortlessly between the "now" where VTro doggedly tracks down her missing friend, and the past when the girls' friendship was at its height. This device works superbly as the reader is subtly made to realize how different the present VTro is from the one in the past, and how that difference has been brought about by her friendship with Do. At the end of the book, we see both girls agreeing to part because family circumstances make it impossible for their friendship to continue. However, both are able to see this clearly and both realize they have to take responsibility for their relationships since the adults around them have already proved they are inept to do this for them.

FrTchette's eye for the minutiae of teenage life and gift for creating believable characters result in a fresh story that will appeal to many girls.


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