By Belle Amatt
Balloon Girl is a modern day tale, a 21st century fable if you like, which charts the lives of a troubled but enchanting teen, Sylvie, and her mother, Anna. Through a series of flashbacks and memories, Sylvie explores how she became the 18 year old girl who stands on Brighton beach broken and lost in the depths of melancholy and regret. The journey we are taken on will explore our position as parents, our responsibility as role models and whether we can really blame our parents for our misgivings, and, if we do, can we forgive?
What inspired the premise you may well ask? Many years ago I led a series of child obesity projects in Sussex, working with both children and their families. The aim of the 12 week course was to offer a framework in which families could find the causes or the weight gain and so use this knowledge to push forward with helping their child’s weight loss. I learnt a huge amount about role-modelling, blame, denial and the drivers of success, those being honesty and open-mindedness.
What works in these cases? A willingness to press the pause button at times, reflect on one’s own behaviour and consider how change is needed. The process requires a lot of self-acceptance, so is not always the easiest path.
This was the seed which prompted the theme. However, like all healthy seeds it grew into something bigger. This novel is much more than a tale of body image. It is about intricate family relationships, belief systems and conventionality. It may even evoke in some that depth of teenage passion which is all consuming and capable of reaching deep into the core.
Balloon Girl by Belle Amatt is available to download as an e-book from Amazon.