Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Amy By Any Other Name by Maureen Garvie

Amy By Any Other Name is a kind of redo of "Freaky Friday" that doesn't end quite so happily.
Two teen girls have accidents on the same day in May; 15 year old Goth girl Krystal Maria Marques steps in front of a car in downtown Toronto while 16 year old wealthy over-achiever Amy Wexford dives off a cliff in a quarry hitting a rock. Both girls begin to die and when they are brought back to life at the same hospital in Toronto, their out of body souls collide and they end up switching bodies. This soul switch leads to some serious identity crises for both girls, which in my opinion is somewhat glossed over in the novel. I would think anyone undergoing this experience would have some serious emotional and mental health issues. Instead, Amy seems to approach the entire situation with a maturity that seems almost super-human.

Despite this, I thought  Amy By Any Other Name was well written and fascinating. The story is told from the point of view of Amy inside Krystal's body. Amy and Krystal are complete opposites both in body type, looks and likes. Although both girls have been seriously injured, Krystal's body has suffered the more severe injuries. Amy not only has to cope with being in a different body that's injured but also with being in a body that is completely unsuited to the life she led as Amy. Amy essentially has to remake Krystal's body to fit the person she was in her own body. But she also now has Krystal's life, which was not going well and which was not a privileged as Amy's former life. Amy tells a few people whom she thinks she might be able to trust, what has happened to her. These people do not really believe her because the whole idea is preposterous.
We eventually learn how Krystal is coping with being in Amy's body and adapting to Amy's life when the two meet later on. Although Krystal gets the better deal, in some ways her life is just as much a struggle as Amy's is.
Amy is determined to recover her body and sets out with a plan and the same sort of determination she had when she was Amy the elite rower and top student. But will her plan succeed or will she be forever trapped in a body that is not hers? Either way, she and Krystal will face many challenges.

This story has us consider what defines us. Are we just our souls, thoughts, feelings and experiences? Do our bodies matter? Can we really exist in another body? What Garvie wants us to consider is both disturbing and unique.

A well crafted book suited to teens and adults.

Book Details:
Amy By Any Other Name by Maureen Garvie
Key Porter Books

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