REVIEW: The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks

by |August 12, 2021
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Review by Karen Robinson, Territory Manager

Following on from Danielle Binks’ acclaimed middle grade fiction book, The Year the Maps Changed, this new novel, The Monster of Her Age, is her first foray into the YA genre. It’s wonderful, magical and one of the best books I have read in years of any genre.

Danielle Binks

Danielle Binks

Ellie Marsden is part of the Lovinger acting dynasty, one scattered with Oscar and Golden Globe winners. Her grandmother, Lottie, is a beloved actress who starred in horror films in Hollywood’s golden years. Her career had a resurgence with a recent film, Blood and Jacaranda, which also starred Ellie. The film became a cult classic but created a family rift and Ellie hasn’t spoken to Lottie for several years. Now Lottie is dying and Ellie returns home to be with her family and to try and make peace with Lottie and their past.

Meanwhile, a girl named Riya runs a film club celebrating feminism in the horror film genre. Riya had organised for Lottie to be the guest of honour at their Halloween showing of Blood and Jacaranda and she hopes Ellie will take her place, not knowing the fraught history behind the film’s creation.

This novel is honest, compelling, contemporary and celebrates the arts in a way that draws you into the magic of old Hollywood and the contemporary Australian film industry. Binks reminds the reader that there are people behind these creations that bring such joy and escapism into our lives, especially in these Covid times, who are often lowly paid and made to feel like they aren’t contributing to society by getting a ‘real’ job. The film history shared is fascinating, and don’t worry if you’re not a fan of horror films (I know I’m not). Riya’s passion just leaps off the page and draws you in. Add in the exploration of feminist perspectives of filmmaking, movie soundtracks and Mary Shelley, along with the developing romantic and creative relationship between Ellie and Riya, and it’s an intoxicating mix.

Binks writes about LGBTQI+ storylines, family dysfunction and mental health so organically, and without any preachiness. The characters are wonderfully written and what ultimately makes this novel so enjoyable is you feel like you know them. Even Lovinger House, the magnificent stately home that is the hub of the family full of fascinating film and family history, is a character of its own and is so realistically drawn that you’ll want to book a tour of it next time you’re in Hobart. I’m so disappointed it’s fictional!

I could go on and on but I’ve used up my monthly allotment of superlatives so it all comes down to this – I can’t recommend this book highly enough, especially for creative souls struggling to feel valued in today’s world.

The Monster of Her Age by Danielle Binks (Hachette Australia) is out now.

The Monster of Her Ageby Danielle Binks

The Monster of Her Age

Limited Signed Copies Available!

by Danielle Binks

How do you ruin someone's childhood?

Ellie Marsden was born into the legendary Lovinger acting dynasty. Granddaughter of the infamous Lottie Lovinger, as a child Ellie shared the silver screen with Lottie in her one-and-only role playing the child monster in a cult horror movie. The experience left Ellie deeply traumatised and estranged from people she loved. Now seventeen, Ellie has returned home to Hobart for the first time in years. Lottie is dying and Ellie wants to make peace with her before it's too late...

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