In the fleapit
All I Ever Wanted
by Vikki Wakefield
Text Publishing, $19.95 pb, 204 pp, 9781921758300
Sixteen-year-old Jemima (Mim) Dodd lives in a dilapidated house on the edge of suburbia, with an overweight, couch-loving mother. Mim’s two elder half-brothers are in remand for drug-related offences, and she is struggling not to be sucked into her neighbourhood’s vortex of sex, crime, and violence. Mim seems to be a victim both of her hostile social environment and her dysfunctional family. For want of a choice, it seems likely that she will follow the well-trodden path of school drop-out, teenage pregnancy, and unemployed layabout. But we should be cautious about mapping out Mim’s life as the book pushes the simple moral of never taking anything at face value; even the most unprepossessing circumstances can still yield surprising results.