The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves Fleur Beale, Random House, 2007, 286 pages, paperback, NZ$19.99. ISBN 1-86941-836-6
When a TV reality shows isolates a family on to a rugged, Cook Strait island for a year, the stress could damage the happiest family. The Hargreaves family already have problems and when the producer sets up several emotional ambushes, Minna is not the only one whose life is unexpectedly transformed. From being a self-centred ‘urban princess’, interested only in make-up, clothes and boys, Minna finds herself forced not only to cook and clean but also to accept responsibilities. Her father’s character flaws, her mother’s guilty secret and her brother’s drug habit put an overwhelming load on Minna’s shoulders. The adult issues that Minna faces (and the language that she uses) make The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves suitable for older readers. They will enjoy Fleur Beale’s lively account how a girl’s life is changed forever by her experiences and, with luck, they might learn from it.
This review first appeared in The Press, Christchurch on 31st March 2007.