Paperback, 183 pages
“Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.”
Abigail Evans, transition-year student – a typical neurotic teenager or does she have a real problem?
When she feels empty and to combat the blahness, she buys stuff she doesn’t really need or want. Well, if she doesn’t do that then she has to cut herself with razor-blades that leave ugly red scars along the inside of her arm. Then she has to wear long sleeves until the scabs fall off.
But why does she cut herself? She’s not from a dysfunctional family, hasn’t had a horrible childhood experience, and she has friends: Leanne – sarcastic and bitchy, Tina – always on a diet, Karen – fits in everywhere.
They all drive her mad.
They are stereotypical teenagers. How boring!
So is it all just melodramatic teen angst or is Abi seriously screwed up, and no one is listening?
“Claire plots Abi’s story through the troughs and shallows of being Screwed-Up, and throws a very sharp eye on life, the universe and everything else that goes belly-up.”
(Mary Finn, RTE Guide)
“Teenagers, bless them, sometimes think they’re at the centre of the world … Claire Hennessy’s fourth novel, Stereotype, captures that state extraordinarily well … [insert list of Issues here] are never sensationalised and the first-person narrative moodswings its way from casual and chatty to alarm-bell heartcries. Hennessy … mirrors adolescence convincingly.”
(Niall MacMonagle, The Irish Times)
“This sharply-observed tale of the struggle to ‘fit in’ and combat low self-esteem will strike many resonances with youngsters everywhere.”
(Ferdia MacAnna, Sunday Independent)
“Angst, frustration and conflict – what makes this book such a convincing read is that it’s written in the first person, by a real life teenager.”
“… proving that she is no ‘flash in the pan’, her writing gets better and better. Being one herself… Ms Hennessy is highly qualified to write about teenagers – for teenagers. Her style is slick and full of self-irony, with dialogue that is pithy yet gossipy enough to reflect a teenage lifestyle.”
“… definitely amazing … I couldn’t put this book down …”
Abigail crawled into my head when I was writing Memories and demanded to be heard. Until then, I hadn’t realised characters actually did that. I’ll admit to having a weakness for angsty-writer-type narrators, people who are on the outside and say little but think a lot. For Abi there’s this conflict between wanting to be different and not wanting to be weird, wanting to be a part of things without wanting to conform, and wanting to be happy without wanting to work at it or knowing how to. I think it’s an accurate portrayal of teenage angst, the self-awareness and the pain, which is probably why a friend of mine read it and liked it, but said that it made her feel like she wanted to go and slit her wrists. Compliments are wonderful things, really…
This was the first book I published where you only hear one side of the story – Abigail’s. There are pros and cons to this, and I contemplated writing something from Sarah’s POV, or Fiona’s, or Caroline’s (and ended up writing a whole book about Emily), but I’m happy with this as it is. I won’t say it’s my favourite – writers, like mothers, are not supposed to pick favourites – but it is the one I would probably return to if contemplating a sequel.