French / France

Je suis un arbre
(I am a tree)

Zalberg, Carole (text)
Arles: Actes Sud, 2013. – 85 p.
(Series: D’une seule voix – Actes Sud junior)
ISBN 978-2-330-01486-5

Friendship | Responsibility | Addiction | Mother / Daughter | Parentification | Coming-of-age novel

When Fleur arrives home, she usually does not know where or how her alcoholic mother will show up – with a bottle on the steps, at the police station, drunk on the street, or woozy on the couch. The girl shoulders this responsibility, though she is constantly overwhelmed by such an unwanted reversal of parent-child roles (so-called parentifi cation). She manages day-to-day life for her mother and herself, but increasingly isolates herself from other people. Fleur’s friend Louna is her foothold – Louna is undergoing a similar experience with her depressed father, who has turned cold and unresponsive since his divorce.

In her best book yet, Carole Zalberg sheds light in a sophisticated and empathic way on ambivalent parent-child relationships that have lost their equilibrium. While the text creates no false hopes, it dwells with great intensity on those moments of closeness and love that even then still exist between parent and child. (Age: 12+)