If you’re from Melbourne, you probably know Jack Charles. He’s the small man with the huge grey hair and beard who races around town on his scooter. If you’re from further afield, you’ve probably seen him on TV or in the movies. Or perhaps on stage, if you’re lucky. He’s a local activist, a member of the Stolen Generations who later in life learned that he is a Boonwurrung man.
This books covers much of his life, the good and bad. It’s a great read because his generosity and positivity shine through, even during the hard times. He’s not ashamed of things he’s done in his past, though he also doesn’t glorify them. And while he is angry with the policies that tore his life and his family apart, he sees hope and ways to move through in the future. I was lucky enough to attend a talk between Charles and his co-writer, Namila Benson, and despite being in a room with a couple of hundred people, it felt like I was a part of the conversation. That’s what this books feels like – conversation being shared with the reader. I highly recommend this.