The Opposite of Chocolate

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Title: The opposite of chocolate
Author: Julie Bertagna
Source: My house
Publisher: Young Picador
Publish Date: 2003
This is a novel about a teenage girl named Sapphire Dean. At some point during the summer holidays amongst all her fun, she falls pregnant. As the holidays draw to an end, she finds out that she is pregnant, by using a predictor stick from a chemist out of town. The reason she brought the pregnancy stick from a chemist, out of town is, because she didn’t want anyone that her or her family knew to tell her parents about the possibility of one of their daughters being pregnant at such a young age. When the pregnancy stick falls out of her pocket (at her house), and falls into the wrong hands (mouth), her family finds out. Concerned by their own opinions and futures they tell their close friends. Sapphire’s father wants her to keep the baby whereas her mother wants her to have an abortion. Sapphire realizes that her life, future and body have become battlegrounds for everyone’s needs and opinions but her own. During pregnancy she has an epiphany. She begins to grow up and learns to understand life more. She comes to a fork in the roads. She doesn’t know what to do with the baby. To get an abortion, adopt it out, or raise it herself. She hates all of them, because she thinks how it will be like in the future with or without the baby. In the end she makes the decision that she wants, without any pressure from her family or family friends. The main character in this novel is Sapphire Dean, but the most important character to me was Marie Bloom. Marie Bloom is Gilbert Lemon’s mother. Gilbert Lemon is the firebug and ends up being Sapphire’s best friend and lover. Throughout the novel she believed he knew about her being pregnant because she told him, but in the end she finds out he didn’t actually hear her because he was breathing to loudly in the bushes minutes after he lit another fire. Marie and Martin (Gilbert’s parents) were married when Gilbert was a baby. They are still officially married because Martin could not find it in his heart to send away the divorce papers. When they got married Marie realized she had made a mistake. She was stuck at home with Gilbert (a young baby), whilst Martin worked as a car mechanic during the day and went out most nights to play jazz in the seaside hotels. The reason being was because they need the extra money. At that moment she realized that the elsewhere she had always longed for was still somewhere else. About 12 years ago (in the novel) she met a man at the supermarket one Saturday morning, when Martin was at home looking after Gilbert. The two of them had gone for coffee. The promise of elsewhere was in the end, what made her choose the other man, a man she use to work with in the city. She ended up running away with him. The day she left, the other man rushed her, he told her to hurry up by revving the car engine whilst waiting outside her house. As they drove off she cried because she was leaving Gilbert. But she was happy at the time. I know this because of the following quote, ‘…but the excitement of her escape had been as strong as her guilt’ meaning she felt guilty about leaving Gilbert behind to escape what had seemed like an imprisonment so she could start a new life but she had to leave Gilbert behind to do so’. Marie had told herself she would be right back for Gilbert just as soon as she had sorted out her new life. Not long after she had left she regretted it. The new man, Simon wanted fun and excitement, but Marie found out that she couldn’t live that life while aching for her abandoned son, Gilbert. She late found out that Simon had been lying. He didn’t actually want Gilbert with them after all. It says, ‘He’d thought she would forget him in her new life. Marie had been amazed forget her own child?!’ It also says right after that sentence, ‘she took the bus home’. I believe that is the reason why she waits at the bus stop every day, waiting for...
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