At 8 years old, all of Jude’s dreams revolved around having no food rules:
Her mum went to heaven, “which is where you can eat what you like even Mars bars all day.”
She wants to be her best friend Stella, who’s allowed to drink unlimited Slush Puppies.
And she says, “When we grow up, me and Stella are going to live in the same house and eat chips and strawberry mousse every day.”
Boy, things are simple when you’re 8 and life hasn’t messed up your priorities yet!
Unfortunately, life is not so easy for now 16-year-old Jude, who is thrilled (?) when her best friend (?) Stella returns after being gone who-knows-where for 8 years. Jude’s feelings about Stella (who boasts a diet of mainly vodka and cigarettes) may be mixed, but ours as readers are quite certain – Stella’s the rotten apple who can turn the whole basket.
Sadly, Jude still often thinks she should be just like Stella; she can’t see that she’s not “invisible,” “obscure,” or “unremarkable” like Stella makes her feel, and that she doesn’t need to be Stella to feel satisfied. Or to be her deceased mother, who had eyes like “candied angelica.” (Yeah, I had to look it up – they say it’s from the parsley family, but it looks more like celery.)
Anyway, the more Jude tries to be someone she’s not, the sicker she gets. If only finding her identity could be as easy as finding her way back to Alphabetti Spaghetti.