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Submitted Literature

The Madolescents

By Chrissie Glazebrook


The main character of this novel, Rowena, is a trainee mortician and a fairly typical adolescent – she drinks too much alcohol, has little in the way of aspiration, focuses on her funeral music rather than on her work, eats a poor diet, and is nihilistic and apathetic.  The novel is narrated with an amusing and accurate over-the-top style, typical of many adolescents.  Rowena attends a therapy group for adolescents following an act of deliberate self harm – the therapy group quickly bonds and abandons the ‘therapy’ part of the deal.  The death of one of the group – who Rowena has become romantically involved with and who is a teenage transvestite – leads to them planning a funeral quite unlike any other, which soon takes a comically dark turn.

Key Themes:

  • Anxiety
  • Childhood / Adolescence
  • Self-Injury
  • Societal Pressure
  • Suicidality

Significant Quotes / Pages

24 – “My face is on fire. I race back to my room, slam the door and hurl myself on to the bed, chanting ‘Shit- Shit- Shit- Shit- Shit!’ My heart’s thumping like a lunatic.  I clench my hands into tight fists and dig my fingernails in till they really really hurt.  When I shut my eyes I can feel my eyeballs darting about like steelies in a pinball machine. Ping-Ping-Ping!  My whole body’s rigid, toes bunched up tight with cramp.  I can’t get my breath.  I’m choking in little gasps like a forty-a-day asthmatic.

This is it, then. I’m going to die.  A life of genius tragically cut short.  Any second now I’ll be whizzing down a long tunnel towards a bright white light.  I’ll land in the garden full of beautiful thingies, flowers and stuff.  My Nana Vincent will be there to show me round, her face surgically reconstructed like before the stroke.  And where’s Mum while my spirit’s departing my earthly body?  In the next room satisfying her carnal lust with Filthy Luker.  She’ll be overcome with remorse when she finds me, the late great Rowena Vincent, my features set in a puzzled frown as if to say, Mum, how could you?

Then it dawns on me that my heart’s stopped thudding and then breathing normally again.  The toe-cramp’s disappeared and I feel strangely … serene, is that a word?  Something weird’s happening.  I’m being taken over, possessed by mystic life-force, and other-worldly power pumping through my earth-body.  A divine energy surges through me, transforming me into a mighty butt-kicking superwoman.  From now on I shall take no prisoners and no shit.


I am invincible.

Filthy Luker is my mortal enemy.”

Reference: Chrissie, Glazebrook. 2001. The Madolescents. London: William Heinemann, 2001


- Charley Baker
Date Review Submitted: Friday 20th March 2009