Graffiti Moon

Graffiti Moon

Cath Crowley

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

RRP: $16.99

264pp

Category: Young Adult Fiction

Lucy Dervish is in love with Shadow, even though she has never met him. On one hot Melbourne night at the end of Year 12, she goes looking for him with her friends Jazz and daisy. Shadow is a graffiti artist working with Poet, spraying their thoughts onto walls around the city.

Ed is an artist. He lives to paint. Sometimes all he can do is take his thoughts and spray them as fast as he can onto a wall. But Ed’s world is a dangerous one. He dropped out of school in Year 10, and has recently lost his job. His friend Leo owes money to a bad guy, Malcolm Dove. On this particular night, Ed and Leo are planning to risk everything so that they can be square with Malcolm once and for all.

Graffiti Moon is written from the dual perspectives of Lucy and Ed – interspersed with Poet’s writing – which allows the reader to be privy to the thoughts of both main characters simultaneously. All the characters are sharply written, and Crowley does teenage angst really well. On the brink of adulthood, the characters are all trying to find where they fit into the world.

Lucy and Ed are both artists, and are both a bit lost. Lucy thinks her parents are getting divorced because her dad moved out and is now living in the shed. Ed lives with his Gran and they are struggling to pay their rent. Luckily for both that they do have some mentors in their lives who have tried to help them find their way. Ed had Bert who, until he died, owned the paint shop where Ed worked. Lucy has Al, the glassblower who has been helping with her portfolio called “The Fleet of Memory”. The idea behind the work is that Lucy has condensed her memories inside a fleet of glass bottles. Ed is doing the same with his painting – spraying his memories onto walls and trains. Both are trying to find a way to fit in to the world, and are using art to express themselves. Crowley’s descriptions of colour, whether it be Lucy’s glass, Ed’s struggle to find exactly the right blue for the sky, or the pink shag pile carpet that lines the walls of the Kombi van Leo uses, are so vivid, I felt like I was living that hot Melbourne night along with Lucy and Ed. In fact, while reading this book I really wanted to search out some graffiti art just to visualise the book even more. At the start of the novel, Ed paints a yellow bird lying face up – its legs facing upwards towards the sky. It could be asleep, or perhaps dead. At the end of the book, he paints another yellow bird but this time it is wide awake – fully open to the possibilities his life might hold in the future. As with all good coming of age stories, the promise of hope after all the angst is like a ray of sunshine.

I think this book would make a superb movie – with fantastically drawn characters, and a rockin’ sound track!

8/10

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