An unconventional hospital adventure about the fundamental question of whether love should be just for now or forever
Stacks of books have been written about divorce, but rarely as originally as in Plaster. In sparkling dialogue and a tone that is light-hearted yet sharp, Anna Woltz speaks through her character, a quirky twelve-year-old girl, about divorcing parents, broken hearts, a wounded family and hoping against hope.
The trigger for the story is Fitz’s sister Bente’s fingertip, which she loses in a slippery winter accident, when she’s on the back of her dad’s bike. With a howling Bente – and the bloody tip of her finger in a sandwich bag – Fitz and her dad race to the casualty department. At the hospital, Fitz’s mum comes to join her ex and her daughters, and the story takes off at a rapid pace.
Woltz convincingly sketches Fitz’s powerlessness and confusion. She secretly hopes her mum and dad will get back together, but she’s also furious with them. When her mum suggests that they should all have lunch together at the hospital, “because that’ll be much more fun”, Fitz flashes back at her: “I want you to remember that we’ve had a great time together. But people change. And after all these years we simply don’t fit together as well as we used to. And that’s why I’m going to go and eat my lunch on my own.” Fitz sounds just like her parents when they got together to announce their separation, following the rules in the divorce handbook Happily Married, Happily Divorced.
The hospital is not only the ideal setting as a metaphor for a family that is broken and “needs to be put in a plaster cast”, but is also, as Fitz realizes, the perfect place for wandering around and unexpectedly making new friends. Together with perky little Primula and the surly but handsome Adam, who’s at the hospital because his brother was born prematurely, Fitz finds herself going on a search for an answer to the question of what love is. Their quest, as presented by Woltz, results in hospital adventures that are both hilarious and touching and which wouldn’t look out of place in a film.