CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 12. . . .November 22, 2013
Pure Fake is a fast-paced story about a young woman who is obsessed with material things like clothing and make-up. From the Lorimer “SideStreet” series, this book is intended for students 13 years and older who are reading at about a grade 4 level. It is a short book which packs a lot of drama and action into each chapter.
Written in the first-person, the story follows Gina and her friends as they party their way through the final days of June and into the summer holidays. Gina is 17 and judges people by their attire and popularity, and she chooses her boyfriend because of his appearance. Colter appears to be interested in Gina, but there are clues in the beginning chapters that he is not quite the Mr. Wonderful he is pretending to be. Colter has been accused by some of trying to rape his former girlfriend, and another girlfriend has died in a car accident. Colter has recently switched schools to get away from the accusations. The reader is left wondering if Colter is indeed guilty of any of the crimes.
Gina is a stereotypical young woman who thinks only of herself, her looks and whether or not she needed the breast enhancements she received. She would not dream of going out of the house in anything but the most current designer clothes, and she takes diet pills to help keep her weight down when she eats too much. She judges, sometimes harshly, girls who don't dress as she does, and, at first, she chooses her girl friends from this narrow slant as well. She is always thinking about fashion and false friends, and she discounts many clues that perhaps Colter is not trustworthy. As the story unfolds, Gina finds herself excusing Colter's abuse of prescription drugs, his high speed Sea-Doo ride which nearly costs Gina her life, and his temper. Slowly, with the help of some friends, and a beating, Gina comes to see that Colter is out of control. In the end, Gina runs for her life in old clothes and runners and perhaps comes to realize that life has more to it than fashion and appearance. This is a fitting end for a young woman who had been obsessed with looking perfectly manicured every waking moment.
I found Gina to be a good story teller and rather enjoyed viewing the world from her narrow perspective as she ignored some of those around her who were trying to set her straight. Gina tells her story like it is, even if it makes her look questionable. The plot involves drugs, death, an overdose, attempted murder, high speeds and a ride on a Sea-Doo which almost ends in disaster. In some ways, this book reads like a teen soap opera with stereotypical characters, but the flawed heroine does learn a life lesson in the end, and I felt hope for her to mature into a caring citizen of the Earth. Fast-paced and gritty, and at a reachable vocabulary level, Pure Fake would be of interest to teen girls who struggle with reading.
Mary Harelkin Bishop is the author of seven books and is most well-known for the “Tunnels of Moose Jaw” time travel adventures. She has also written a farming story, Seeds of Hope, and a biography about Canada's Paralympic Champion, Colette Bourgonje. Currently, Mary is a Literacy Teacher for Saskatoon Public Schools in Saskatoon, SK.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.