Saturday, 25 November 2006

Tiggie Tompson's Longest Journey, Tessa Duder, 2003

TIGGIE TOMPSON’S LONGEST JOURNEY Tessa Duder, Puffin, Auckland, New Zealand, 2003, 224 pages, paperback, $16.95. ISBN 0-14-331812-8.

Readers will gain an insight into eating disorders from Tessa Duder’s The Tiggie Tompson Show, but they will learn much more about teenagers. Tessa Duder is superb at letting us into her characters’ heads, so that we can see how major tensions can be created by relatively minor incidents. In the first two novels Tiggie lost weight and gained self-confidence, independence and a good acting role .
Now in Tiggie Tompson’s Longest Journey, filming has begun but she is distracted by tensions on set, an anorexic friend runs away and Tiggie’s glamorous broadcaster mother is unexpectedly pregnant. Tiggie copes well (mostly), comes of age in her relationships with others, conquers her fears and ultimately achieves success. The studio atmosphere is convincing and the plot gripping. This could be the final volume but Tiggie now has a contract to write three novels and some unfinished business to sort out, including her relationship with her estranged grandfather, so I predict a quartet.

Trevor Agnew

First published in The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand on March 6th 2004

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