Beats blasted through the door to Jazz's apartment.
–Derbhile Dromey - The pink cage - c.2011 - pg.7
Astrid is a bitch. She doesn’t see herself that way, but as I started this novel I really didn’t like her. She is mean, sarcastic, and insulting. Especially to those people she sees as “limpets”, grasping on to people, needing their help, and never letting go.
The Pink Cage is, according to the blurb on the back, about “a love that’s not quite forbidden, and a girl with hair the colour of day-old snow”. I’d say it is a novel about coming to term with who you are, limitations and faults, as well as your abilities and merits. Astrid is a product of her upbringing, and as I read more of this book I really came to understand why she is the way she is. Her childhood is told in flashes along side her skiing trip with the visually impaired. It is a beautifully written book. Especially when Dromey is writing about music. Astrid is a huge music fan, and while her choice of electronic isn’t usually what I’d listen to this book, Astrid’s reactions to hearing Massive Attack in particular, mean that I will be listening to the book’s playlist on youtube as soon as I get the time.The ending felt a bit rushed and pat to me, especially considering how well developed Astrid is as a character, for her to have that sudden swing was a bit, hmmm. Then again, I think that we have all had moments when we recognise something in ourselves and make a resolution to change. As with new year resolutions we may have great ideas, but whether or not it takes hold is a different matter.
I’m not sure if those of you outside Ireland will even be able to pick this up, but if you do get the chance I would recommend it. It isn’t a perfect book, but there is loads to enjoy in it. I really liked Astrid’s childhood in particular. And her unhappiness in the school of visually impaired girls is so palpable. And then her reaction when her father comes to collect her, heart-breaking.
It is strange. When I started reading this book I didn’t know if I would even stick with it. But the more I read the more I got into it, even while disliking Astrid and wanting to smack her and make her see that she was hating others because they had her problems. And now, thinking about it after I’ve finished it I think I liked it even more.
I can’t find any other bloggers that have reviewed this, if you have, let me know and I’ll link to you.