Marja-Leena Lempinen: Punainen lumme [The red lily]

3 March 2009 | Mini reviews

Punainen lummePunainen lumme
[The red lily]
[Helsinki: WSOY, 2008. 232 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-34434-7
€ 21, hardback

16-year-old Ella’s story is told with gusto and vitality. The novel deals critically, in a way that will appeal to young readers, with questions of Internet etiquette, personal protection and the right to one’s own body. Lempinen depicts the sexual exploitation of a young girl in realistic terms, but does not over-dramatise it. Ella, however, needs to regain her mental equilibrium in a psychiatric hospital, with the help of the understanding staff. The gift of a red lily she receives from friends develops into a beautiful symbol of her gradual attainment of her sexual identity. As in her earlier novels for teens, Lempinen (born 1950) gives an important role to the experience of nature, and this is a leading factor in Ella’s recovery.


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