TITLE: Run, Rebel
AUTHOR: Manjeet Mann
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
REVIEWER: Olivia Clinckers
Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann follows Amber, an Indian girl who lives in the UK. Amber loves to run, it’s the only time that she feels free and that she can forget about her life at home. At home, her father wants her to be a “dutiful daughter”, to be able to cook, clean and to enter an arranged marriage like her sister Ruby. Her father says that running is not what she should be doing, that it isn’t lady-like. Despite this, Amber finds a way to run and to compete—it is her rebellion. Her love for running and want for rebellion grows and soon she is ready to fight for what she loves.
When I first started reading this novel I wasn’t expecting the fusion of poetry with a novel style. I love the way that Manjeet has written poetry but kept the story going and keeping the reader wanting more after every page. This novel explores many real-world issues that apply to us today, including feminism, identity, class, culture, friendship and family. It also explores abuse and domestic violence. Amber’s father is an alcoholic and abusive towards Amber and her mother. He physically abuses Amber’s mother and has forbidden her to learn to read or write, so that she can’t read the domestic violence support pamphlets. I really grew to hate Amber’s father because he is so controlling and has misogynistic views which he forces onto his own family. At the end though, I felt the tiniest bit of sympathy for him, because he cries when Amber and her mother leave him showing that a small part of him loves them, in his own twisted mind, he only “wants what is best for them”. Apart from that I strongly dislike him.
Because the novel is written in the style of short poems, the book itself is short but is packed with emotion. All I wanted to see was Amber rebel against her father and run away to live together peacefully, with Amber competing in the Olympics. I felt the tension between the pages and felt so scared for Amber. The themes presented are quite strong, and are a little confronting, as I know that many people go through what Amber went through in this novel and can’t find help or support.
Overall, I highly recommend this book and I give it five out of five stars! Due to the themes presented in this book, I recommend for readers aged 14 and over. All in all, this was a very powerful book and tackled so many important issues with grace and in an artful way.