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Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty: review auf Englisch

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School Magazine: Review of "Dear Nobody"

Our school magazine includes always a review of a book or a film. For once, our this week’s issue includes a review of a novel which has been screened from BBC for British television in 1998. In this story with the title "Dear Nobody”, written by Berlie Doherty, the main characters are two 18-year-old teenagers, Helen and her boyfriend Chris. The story is set in Sheffield, a city which is so average like the characters in the book: Helen’s passion are dancing and music whereas Chris is interested in playing the guitar, walking, climbing and reading books and poems. Both of them still go to school and write their A-level exams in June which they pass. Helen’s plans are to study music in Manchester and Chris wants to study literature at Newcastle. But the two usual teenagers become exceptional teenagers.

Everything starts in January when Helen and Chris make love for the first time in their lives as a symbol for their mutual love. At that time they don’t know yet that this event will get all their future plans mixed up. Little by little Helen realizes that she’s pregnant. She decides to finish with Chris for good because she doesn’t want to involve Chris in the problems and because she doesn’t want Chris to give up his university place. First Chris is fairly depressed when Helen leaves him but finally, when the baby is born, he sees that Helen’s decision was right because he realizes that he’s neither ready for the baby nor for spending his whole life with Helen.

"Dear Nobody” tells the story of this unwanted pregnancy in a sensitive way and shows in what way Helen and Chris’s whole lives change. It demonstrates their feelings, how the two teenagers learn to deal with their new circumstances and how their fellows, particularly their families, react to Helen’s pregnancy.

Generally speaking the story pleases me. It gives outcasts a realistic and sympathetic view of the situation being unwanted pregnant as a teenager. I can even identify sometimes with Helen. She likes dancing, like me, and she’s nearly at the same age as me. I can understand how terrible it must be for her to give up dancing for a while because when you’re out of training for a time it’s difficult to get in again.
However, I don’t like in the book that it describes some short unimportant and boring situations over several pages. It’s enough to drive you crazy!
Concerning the characters in the film, I think that the actors represent the characters of the book good, except for Helen’s grandmother. In the book Helen’s grandmother talks not much, stares always out of the window, is sad and whistles, but in the film she even smiles sometimes. I prefer the grandmother’s character in the book because the sadness emphasizes the conflict between Helen’s grandmother and Helen’s mother: Helen’s mother can’t forgive her mother because she was born illegitimate.

When you look at the cover of the novel you can see a pregnant woman standing alone on a meadow with some people in the background l watching at her. At the top you can see a big letter. Before I read the book I expected that the people in the background are standing for the woman’s friends and family who don’t support her. However, by reading the novel I got to know that everybody supports Helen except for her parents, who after a while also support her. My expectation that the boy on the right side in the background is Helen’s boyfriend was fulfilled. Still I thought that her boyfriend doesn’t support her but he does. Since you can see that the woman stands there prominent and upright alone you can also suppose that the woman goes her own way. The letter at the top of the book lets suspect that the book is written in form of letters. Exceptionally the book is written in two perspectives: It is told alternately as letters Helen writes to her unborn baby and as Chris's narration.
On the one hand I think it was a very good idea to write the book in two perspectives because so the book gives not only insights in the feelings and thoughts of one of the teenagers but also of both teenagers. I think it’s important to show not only one perspective because the pregnancy concerns always two people. On the other hand it is a bit confusing that sometimes the same situations appear twice.

What I liked about the book was that it doesn’t only describe the pregnancy and everything what belongs to it. We get to know simultaneous that Helen’s mother over-reaction about Helen’s pregnancy is justified because Helen’s mother was born herself illegitimate and has bad memories of her childhood (e.g. she was called a bastard). Besides we come to know that Chris’s mother left Chris’s father when Chris was a child because she realized that she her husband replaced her dead father and that she didn’t love him as a wife should.

I didn’t like the film very much. Many parts of the novel were changed and left out. For example, instead of that Chris’s aunt tells Chris and Helen about her abortion, she tells it Chris’s father. In my opinion it’s important to retain that she tells Helen about her abortion because the aunt’s bad feelings concerning the abortion influence Helen’s decision of having an abortion or not. Besides it’s a difference if the girl Chris gets to know after Helen peels off her clothes or not.
In addition the music in the film could be used as a lullaby. On the other hand it makes you so mad after you have heard it twenty times that it would be even difficult to use it as a lullaby.
I prefer the novel.

By reading the book I could actually good put myself in Chris’s and Helen’s perspective because many feelings of the characters are described.
Nevertheless I challenge if the story seems realistic. In my opinion, it seems a bit "made-up” because it contains too many clichés and chances. Helen is pretty, she likes dancing and cooking, Chris likes sports, they are happy, the baby is well, …. A too intact world is presented, too corny. The story contains also many chances. For example, I think it’s unlikely that Helen’s grandmother, Helen’s mother and Helen’s baby are born as unwanted children or that Helen’s father was a dancer in a night club. Besides it doesn’t seem authentic that Chris doesn’t see Helen for months and that he just bumps into her when Tom, the girl he got to know and he have much fun together. There are many other chances I don’t want to specify here more.

Basically I would recommend the book to everyone who is in a similar or the same situation as Helen and Chris, to people who want to get to know more about a pregnancy or about love relations and to people who like reading books which are full of feelings.
I expect that the topic will attract girls more than boys because girls are the ones who have to carry a baby to term and to give birth to the child, so they are the ones who have to cope with most of the problems of an unwanted pregnancy. Boys can leave their girlfriends to get rid of the responsibility. But a woman has the baby inside her body. She can’t run away from her own body. So I think that pregnancy is a theme that concerns rather girls than boys. Besides, I don’t think that boys like themes where many feelings are shown. It could be a cliché that they don’t like reading books and watching films which include many feelings, but I know that no boy would brag in front of his friends about having read a book about an unwanted pregnancy. Here goes, boys! Persuade yourselves to read a book about feelings! (Your friends don’t have to know it.)
Die Datei beinhaltet eine ausführliche Review von "Dear Nobody" geschrieben von Berlie Doherty im Fach Englisch. (1344 Wörter)
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  • Bewertung 3.7 von 5 auf Basis von 31 Stimmen
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3.7/5 Punkte (31 Votes)

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