UBC Theses and Dissertations
Water damage : a young adult novel Wilkes, Diana Lynn
When her mom suddenly leaves home in Vernon to seek a job in Vancouver, Tracey’s self-centred world is rocked. She reluctantly begins journal writing to try to express her inner turmoil. Consumed with anger, she is left caring for an irresponsible father and a troubled younger brother. But as relationships with her friends and responsibilities at school also deteriorate, Tracey is thrust into confrontation with the mom she hates. Meanwhile, Mom’s day planner reveals her hectic schedule-working two jobs to set up a new home for her kids and paying off her husband’s gambling debts. Through her notes, Victoria expresses personal struggles and doesn’t understand her daughter. Together they are tested with financial, employment, housing, and relationship issues. Victoria is time-starved and stressed in trying to achieve her goals. Tracey experiences the challenges of city life and develops empathy for the homeless as she becomes lost in the Downtown Eastside and befriends a mysterious old man. Her growing maturity is revealed as she begins to accept responsibilities for herself, her family and her school but she also makes errors in judgment that damage her integrity. Throughout her trials, Tracey’s love of country music develops into her creative outlet-writing fosters the expression of her healing soul. The primary question is the definition of home. After living in a variety of places, Tracey must decide where she ultimately belongs-with Mom in Vancouver or Dad in Vernon. When unfortunate events affect well-laid plans and it seems she has no choice, Tracey finds a solution that benefits more than just her. She reveals that damage in many relationships can be repaired when forgiveness, love and the giving and accepting of help is shared. Written in counterpoint journals- interspersed with phone messages, letters, lists, lyrics, recipes, and rental advertisements-the two narrators in this novel experience some of the same events but often with varying points of view. As they try to live together and work through misunderstandings, mother and daughter discover a deep appreciation of each others strengths and abilities in the universal theme of relationships.