Elephant @ The Party by Julie D’Amour

‘Elephant @ the Party’ is the first in a series of YA books by Julie D’Amour about Lucy McGregor, a young woman who has to learn the art of self-acceptance, and finds herself in some pretty amazing places, learning to do just that.

I started out reading, thinking, ‘We’ll see how we go with this, I don’t usually read YA….’  And despite occasional stumbles in the text, I found myself drawn in, and then captivated, though how to describe that is a challenge.

I related to Lucy, and understood her characterization as the elephant at the party.  That made me sad, and then involved as the plot unfolded.  I read descriptions of faery life, minutely observed and so brightly vivid and colourful that the account seemed to leap of the pages.  It feels so truthful.  I know about Spirit, and I sense that there is more to this story than mere description.  Perhaps kinship comes close to describing it.

The narrative was intriguing on a number of levels.  The faery backdrop revealed that, in parallel worlds, creatures live as benignly as possible within their environments; so streets are built in the trees, and though its inhabitants live in apartments, these are found within the body of the trees of the forest, which provides shade, shelter and food.  Wild meat is eaten, but prayers of thanks are offered beforehand, and foods and materials are sourced and adapted to impact the physical world as lightly as possible.  I found myself searching for more examples of this in the text, feeling in some way hopeful that we as a species might learn something about that….

The characters are intriguing too, an aspect of these books about which I suspect we will hear more, later in the series.  Connor is – almost – too obliging to be true, too wonderful, but what a guy!  Lucy’s learning and her journey to self-acceptance is courageous and wonderful to watch.  I have learned from that – I continue to learn – and in such an entertaining, colourful way, that I cannot help but be swept away.

Thank you, Julie, for reminding me of worlds that live alongside ours, hopeful, kind and treading lightly on the earth.  Elephant @ the Party is part fairy tale, part truth, part warning to us all, that to live happily and content with ourselves is an important, vital part of our future success.

Rating : 4.5 / 5

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