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Submitted Literature

Crossing the Line

By Di Bates

Review

Di Bates' Crossing the Line Crossing the Line deals with the difficult issue of self harm. Sophie, the narrator, is now 17 and has lived in foster homes since she was around 12. The Department has recently allowed her to try living in a share house with a couple of other young people, Amy and Matt, to try and transition into life post-foster care. But although Sophie enjoys living independently, she is too fragile to cope and deals with her pain the only way she knows how - by cutting herself.

On the surface of it, cutting as a form of self-harm would seem to be an ultimate act of self-absorption, particularly in a teenager. But Bates' skillful writing draws you into Sophie's world, allowing you as the reader to empathise with Sophie's pain while seeing how her cutting only takes her deeper into despair. Throughout her journey, which takes her into a psychiatric ward and to regular sessions with a psychologist, who in turn ‘crosses’ the line’ in her professional relationship with her patient, Sophie struggles with finding her place in a world where natural love is denied to her.

Bates isn't a particularly high profile name in young adult writing but she is a veteran author of more than 30 books and a skilled and empathetic storyteller. In telling Sophie’s story, Bates' writing is compelling and fast paced without being frantic, and the climax and resolution are satisfying to the story's heart while offering hope for Sophie's future.

Key Themes:

  • Childhood / Adolescence
  • Self-Injury

Reference: Di, Bates. 2008. Crossing the Line. Ford Street Publishing, 2008

Reviewer

Ms Maree Kimberley
Date Review Submitted: Thursday 5th August 2010