Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein

Published: October 1st 1985
Goodreads badgePublisher: Puffin Books
Pages: 192
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction
★   ★  – 2 Stars

‘Utter loathing and hatred ‘ I said. ‘I wouldn’t even be on the same bus as you… If I could have caught a virus in time.’ Erica Yurken knew she was destined for great things. Never in any doubt about her own genius she felt superior to everyone at notorious Barringa East… that is until Alison Ashley turned up.

Hating Alison Ashley is about a new girl arriving at school and Erica Yurkan instantly hating her because she looks out of place and a better class of person. That’s it. So we sit through Erica assuming the worst, convinced Alison is out to get her and finding more things to hate no matter how small and shallow.

The first thought when I started reading this was that we finally got a story from someone other than the middle class. Granted it was less eloquent in my mind but that isn’t important. This book was so surprising and a very odd read. It was interesting to see Erica’s family and social point of view but by golly she was an annoying child. You forget she’s only supposed to be 12 years old or something if she’s only in year six. And the stories she comes up with were so unrealistic they just became annoying as every time she opened her mouth it was a lie. And not even a decent one.

There is a great line in this book that was put in there at just the right moment when my patience of putting up with Erica was getting thin. It is a great observation – “Erica Yurkan you have an exaggerated sense of your own importance”. This is so true and for someone coming from her family she is the most judgmental and snobbish person.

Even if you try and justify it, because of her family life etc etc she acts out etc etc. But she doesn’t even act out properly. What she does is she thinks she is superior to everyone when she isn’t, she hates those different than her and looks down on those she thinks are stupid and less deserving, she isn’t shy about openly criticising everyone and she can’t accept any one else might be having their own issues. She really is a horrible person, but again, we can justify it and say well look at what she comes from and how she is hiding up her shame, but that is no excuse.

By the end there is hope for Erica as she starts to realise that she isn’t fooling anyone, and that perhaps her life isn’t so bad after all. But you do have to put up with a lot to get her to that point. Again she is only supposed to be 12 years old so it is just weird most of the time. I guess it is supposed to shows you can’t judge anyone cause you don’t know their life but I think this took it too far. Erica’s family wasn’t what shocked me the most, that I could easily picture, it was this 12 year old hating someone so much and letting it consume her life just because she was ashamed or jealous or some stupid reason like that. Luckily she attempted some form of redemption in the end because Erica is a lot of personality to deal with in one book.

This was turned into a movie starring singer Delta Goodrem, they had changed the story a bit as per usual, but some of the plot was close to the book. I wasn’t a fan of the movie myself but that may just be me, so if you liked this book you may enjoy watching the movie.

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