Bilgewater; Jane Gardam
Europa - 2016
(originally published in 1977)
Bilgewater is a coming of age story starring a delightful protagonist, Marigold Daisy Green (AKA Bilge - Bilgewater). She was given the unflattering nickname by cruel boys at the private boarding school in Northern England where her father, "William the Silent"works.
Bilge's is 16 years old and sees herself as odd, large and plain. She has frizzy hair and wears glasses, which the mean spirited boys use against her. She doesn't have any friends, it's just her and her eccentric father ever since her mother died shortly after she was born. She thinks that her mother took one look at her after she was born and was already bored stiff by her life with her father so she "upped and died".
A funny, touching but, mostly quirky coming of age story told from the POV of Bilge. I liked watching her transformation. At the start of the story she's a girl so uncomfortable in her own skin but, by the end of the story at 18 she begins to lose those insecurities and becomes her own person. If you enjoy quirky characters and academic settings try this novel. I enjoyed seeing the the cards turn in our heroine's favor. I am looking forward to trying other books by this author. This one is just 227 pages which went quickly.