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Home > Categories > Books > Young Adult > Becoming Dinah review

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Score: 9.3/10  [1 review]
4 out of 5
ProdID: 8317 - Becoming Dinah
Written by: Kit De Waal

Becoming Dinah
July 2019

Becoming Dinah product reviews

A YA coming-of-age road trip novel about obsession, self-discovery, female power, and the people we meet along the way - by Costa Award shortlisted author Kit de Waal. The perfect read for anyone who's ever wondered where they came from and where they might be going next. De Waal responds to classic Moby Dick by tearing the power away from obsessive Captain Ahab and giving it to a teenage girl.

Dinah's whole world is upside down, dead things and angry men and cuts all over her head that are beginning to sting....

Seventeen-year-old Dinah needs to leave her home, the weird commune where she grew up. She needs a whole new identity, starting with how she looks, starting with shaving off her hair, her 'crowning glory'. She has to do it quickly, because she has to go now.

Dinah was going to go alone and hitch a ride down south. Except, she ends up being persuaded to illegally drive a VW campervan for hundreds of miles, accompanied by a grumpy man with one leg. This wasn't the plan.

But while she's driving, Dinah will be forced to confront everything that led her here, everything that will finally show her which direction to turn...

ahab   commune   family   love   road trip   self discover
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Click here to read the profile of mizim

Review by: mizim (Miriam)
Dated: 16th of June, 2019

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 9.3/10
Score 9 out of 10
Score 8 out of 10
Lose Track of Time:
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

Teen coming of age stories aren't my usual reading fare, I find the teen drama just too much and it's something that I have never been interested in, not even when I was a teen myself, however working in a children's bookshop requires that I read and since this was sitting there waiting, I thought I would give it a try. Becoming Dinah switches between the present day of the book and various points in her life prior to her running away. This is thankfully consistent, with one chapter being the now and the next the then and so on. Dinah will also change her name for much of the book, which helps to differentiate between past and present as the name is next to the chapter number (not that it was hard to follow).

Ahab is a man riddled with pain, he's lost his wife, his son and his leg, all of which have turned him into a gruff, meaner person and as the story unfolds you can understand his pain and how it made him the man he currently is. When Dinah is prepping to run away, a big moment where something went wrong and Dinah simply can't hang around for fear of it, but it isn't till very nearly the end when we find out just what happened and you can understand her response to the situation, she just took things a step further than most people would in choosing to run away.

The book is well paced and the two main characters, Dinah and Ahab, do grow through the few days they're on their trip for. Dinah has a lot of pain from when her father left their family, how that happened and how it affected her mother, as well as loosing her best friend. She is also confused about her sexual orientation but this was done in a believable way and it is handled well. The ending isn't a happy ending in all regards but it was a very satisfying ending and it didn't leave me with any questions nor a feeling of disappointment, and you know that things will slowly turn out OK for Dinah. While I don't think I would re-read this, I can't find anything to fault with it, if you enjoy coming of age tales then give this a go.

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