‘If it’s an admirable role model for young people you’re looking for, then Madonna is your girl, pierced tongue and all.’ Dianne Dempsey, The Age

Madonna is not the long lost mother of the Messiah.  She’s not a sex-powered pop Diva.  She’s a hard working girl with an Irish dad and an estranged sister, living in a block of flats in Brunswick that rumble with hard luck stories.  The mother who blessed (or cursed) her with her name died when she was young, leaving a hole in Madonna that, at seventeen, has become as raw as a decaying tooth.

I needed to pee.  I realised I was gripping the chair. The place smelled like a dentists and the chair reclined.  It was comfortable but I wasn’t.

Colin stood over me and patted my hand.  ‘Don’t worry about it Madds,’ he said.  ‘It won’t hurt.’

‘She’ll be fine,’ Bianca said but I wasn’t convinced.

‘Yeah,’ Evie said.  ‘Maddie’s a tough chick.’

Tough chick.  Tough chick.  Tough chick.

‘Scot Gardner’s The Other Madonna is compelling. There should be a name for the genre of books about ordinary people trying to live their lives. Failing that, the publishers have labelled The Other Madonna as humorous. It’s not that but it has everything you could ask for of a book, including a memorable protagonist, sadness and pain, lots of lust and love, and even some humour. And credible, gutsy writing’ John Marsden, The Age.