Drinkwater by Eric Hopkins
Drinkwater was originally an English word given to someone who abstains from drinking alcohol. As a family name it represents sobriety, dignity and self-control. Nineteen-year-old Amber Drinkwater knows that when life presents hardships, a responsible person meets them fairly, with a clear head and the willingness to work. Her plans to start a new life in Toronto with her brother Guy are interrupted when their uncle fails to meet them at the train station, but she resolves to abide until he turns up, and when it seems their caretaker is gone for good, she accepts it as an unexpected but timely call to independence and adult responsibility. The sprawling city of Toronto represents a shining opportunity for Amber to prove herself through an old code of grim endurance and bold resignation, but she will find her simple work ethic is no match for its modern towers, dark streets and disjointed neighborhoods.
Amber is 19 year old and her brother Guy [yep that’s the name] come to Toronto after a misfortune to study and live with their uncle Ian. But Uncle Ian doesn’t come to pick them up at the station and neither does he pick up the calls that Amber incessantly makes. After a detour to his place, that Amber has visited just once previously, they find out that he is left his apartment and abandoned them for good. Amber has always wanted independence and the responsibilities of being a young adult, and having Guy there with her was just a coincidence.
Let me first tell you, that not being from the culture, I didn’t understand a lot of terms, but it was not that bad that I didn’t understand anything at all. Amber wants to be responsible and get both their lives sorted out, but her main problem is, she can’t and would not ask for help. She is one of those typical 19 year old’s, who want the freedom, the fun of making your own choices; just that all the choices go wrong, very wrong. The novel successfully depicts the confusion of a 19 yr old girl, who is left alone with a brother in an unknown city with limited cash flow. One other thing, was the language and the depiction of the surroundings and the work-culture, when you First join; that was good too.
Amber talks about architecture. That is interesting as I have never viewed any building with this kind of passion. Apparently she comes to Toronto to learn Architecture.
I felt really- really bad for Guy. In his sister’s pursuit of setting things right, Guy is totally neglected. Initially he believes his big sister would make things right, which fails and it gets frustrating for him.
Now all he gets is a “Shut Up” on any logical question he asks Amber. I feel really sad for him. Being younger sibling doesn’t mean you should not be heard.
The ending is sad and is an open one.
I totally couldn’t understand Amber’s attitude. The first thing she should have done was to call up Janelle [the social worker]. Sometimes, you just want to shake her up and tell her to go freaking call the social-worker, and when she does the last time, it is all gone so wrong.
It is an YA fiction novel. I give it 3 on 5 Stars.