"Today I am nineteen, and the story I am going to tell began two years ago.....Were there any excuses for my behaviour, or am I just plain bad?"
That is the question posed by the young heroine, Helen, of this Danish novel.
Written in 1958 and published by the Hogarth Press and released as a paperback by Pan Books in 1960 this novel went through at least 16 printings in paperback alone.
Although, set in Denmark the action and the themes of this novel could take place in any country and at any time. All the themes are there - coming of age, teenage angst, sexual encounters all set against the disintegrating family life. A holiday romance that goes sour when Helen's boyfriend takes up with her friend. The next encounter is with a boy with ambitions for his band only his plans do not include Helen.
Each encounter knocks her esteem and each time she blames herself and her parents just do not want to know. The only true confident she has is her parent's maid, Nelly, who tries to keep Helen positive.
This novel is written, according to Helen, in the style of those stars who have written their biographies in their sixties. A comment that made me smile because in today's world it would be 'celebrity biographies'.
The novel was written by Johannes Allen (1916-1973) who, the fifties and sixties, wrote and directed many Danish movies. He also wrote several short stories and novels.
'Young Love' is a very insightful novel and given the age of Helen and that Johannes Allen was a 42 year old man at the time this was written it is an incredible piece of writing.
Considered a 'classic' at the time it is a shame that it is hardly recalled today. The themes along with the writing are ageless.