Good morning everyone!
Today, the brilliant Jenny Downham is here today to talk to us about the inspiration behind her brilliant book, Furious Thing!
“Lexi’s angry. And it’s getting worse. If only she could stop losing her temper and behave herself, her stepfather would accept her, her mom would love her like she used to, and her stepbrother would declare his crushing desire to spend the rest of his life with her. She wants these things so badly, she’s determined to swallow her anger and make her family proud.But pushing fury down doesn’t make it disappear. Instead, it simmers below the surface waiting to erupt . . . And there’ll be fireworks when it does.“
Inspiration behind Furious Thing
I’ve always been interested in the notion of scapegoating – where a family or community hold one person culpable for things that go wrong. Families who scapegoat one of their children usually contain a lot of friction. There’s often a ‘golden child’ too – one who is seen as perfect, whereas the scapegoated child expresses all the disturbance.
I began writing about a family who fail to recognise this as a tactic for maintaining the image of a perfect façade and keeping their dysfunction masked. As I wrote, I became fascinated by what might happen if the scapegoated child refused to accept this toxic pattern.
I had more fun writing Lexi than any other character I’ve written. She’s brave and funny and hopelessly in love and not afraid to show it. She doesn’t consider outcomes before she acts and it was enormously freeing. Her fury kept spilling and the boundaries imposed upon her kept tightening and sometimes I’d get stuck, wondering how she was ever going to get out of a particular scrape, but all I needed to do was ask, ‘So, what are you going to do about this, then?’ She’d always have something up her sleeve.
It was satisfying to write about a teenager who trusts her own instincts about what is right and wrong and who uses anger as an appropriate response to injustice. It was also a challenge to write a book that contains a lot of love, light and laughter, despite the difficult subject matter.
A masive thank you to David Fickling books and to Jenny for this brilliant piece! I love knowing about the inspiration behind books because it shows that inspiration can really come from anywhere!
Furious Things is out NOW in paperback and hardback – treat yourself to a copy!!