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Book: The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginnetta Correli

Publisher: Marshmallow Press

Furnished by: Library Thing’s Early Reviewers Program

On Sale Date: 2008

Publisher’s Description: “The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli is an experimental novel written as a touching hybrid of a bizarre television script. With prose and lyrics resulting in quick, readable, deftly crafted scenes. What starts off innocently told through the voice of a 12 year old girl (Beatie Scareli) is the story of how the young girl tries to make sense of her life through a nickelodeon view of the world.

At the same time a woman watches the young girl’s difficult past on her television. The story soon turns and twists until everything about the girl and her family becomes darkly connected to what becomes reality and fiction in the girl or woman’s mind.

The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli challenges the reader to look at human beings in a different way and to accept that given the right circumstances anyone even the reader can fall into a painful abyss of pop culture and get lost in their own reality.”

Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5)

Review: The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli reads like the screenplay of a young girl’s life. It shows, realistically, how life for a child can go from picture-perfect to a chaotic whirlwind in the blink of an eye. The book begins with Beatie and her idiosyncratic family on a trip to the beach; her parents in love, the water warm — perfect. Yet in the time it takes to get back to the car from the beach, things already begin to fall apart for Beatie’s parents. From there, Beatie’s mother goes crazy, her father becomes violent, and Beatie is bounced around from home to home, never in an ideal or safe situation, yet attempting to find herself and grow up amidst the insanity of the adults in her life. As the novel continues, Beatie becomes more confused, as do the circumstances of her life, and accordingly, so does her dialogue. At the end, the reader is left feeling as though they’d like to reach through the page and pull Beatie into their own world, if only just to give her a hug for a minute.

I’m usually a fan of these tumultuous coming of age novels like Go Ask Alice, Girl Bomb, Pretty Little Dirty, etc. The Lost Episodes… falls into this category, but it falls a bit short of the aforementioned works. It reads like a first novel, and I get the impression that it is, so I give Correli kudos for that, at least. However, like most first novels, the plot isn’t fleshed out enough, it’s a bit scattered at times and you don’t get to know the characters quite as well as you’d like. I believe there’s a basis for a great novel here, but it just needs to be taken further.