Tag Archives: Book Review

Terra Nullius by Claire Coleman – Book Review

I don’t want to say much about this book because when I read it, not knowing anything made all the different. Let’s just say that when Australia was colonised, there were a lot of atrocities committed and this book will give you a unique perspective on this.

I loved it. It was compelling and anger-inducing and strong. I discovered it as it was a finalist in the Stellar Prize 2018 – gee, that list gives me a lot of good reading material. I look forward to more from Claire Coleman.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton – Book Review

Eli is a kid who is living in the Brisbane suburbs in the early eighties with his mother and stepfather who are sellers and sometimes users of heroin and his older brother who doesn’t speak. Eli wants a safe place and he wants to make his world right.

I was recommended this book by several people who absolutely loved it and it certainly seems that it is a book that has grabbed a lot of people. There was a lot that I enjoyed about it. It’s complex, and seeds that are planted early come to fruition later.  Dalton allows the story to reveal itself, and throughout there are moments where I found I had to go back and re-read a page or two because something which seemed small and insignificant was actually a really big reveal. I can totally see why people love it, and I really can’t explain why I didn’t. I’m glad I read it, and many of the characters will stay with me, but I didn’t love it. Oh, I just read a couple of articles about it, and apparently, it’s based in Dalton’s childhood with characters very much based on reality and my heart has broken for him. I wonder if knowing that before would have changed my reading experience.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Yearbook Committee by Sarah Ayoub – Book Review

Charlie has moved (against her will) to Sydney with her mother and stepfather and is trying to get through her final year of high school so that she can return to Melbourne. She is forced by the principal to be part of the yearbook committee – a group of five, with only one eager participant. Gillian, who wants to be there, is bullied at school by the popular girls and at home by her image-conscious mother and politician father. Ryan is the school captain and, until a recent injury, the school soccer star who having lost his sport, is struggling to find reason. Matt, the scholarship student, is a loner who is dealing with a mother who is having a severe depressive episode and he is trying to keep them afloat. Finally, Tammi, best friend to Gillian’s biggest bully, sent to the yearbook committee to keep an eye on Gillian. A year can be a long time at school, and friendships can form in unexpected ways.

I love Ayoub’s writing. She paints characters beautifully and it takes no time to enter their world. Some of the events and connections in this book are a little far-fetched, yet she makes them totally believable. My own issue was that it was too short – a lot happens in the final stretch of the book and I really wanted to see the characters deal with things. It doesn’t feel as though a sequel is due, but it would be good if there was one. I just wanted more!

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover – Book Review

Nostalgic for Australia of the 60s and 70s? Think everything was better then? This is the book for you… unless you hate being proven wrong. Glover looks back to his youth at everything from cars and holidays to man-made fabrics and strange dinner parties. It’s hilariously familiar – I’m old enough that some of this stuff was still happening in my childhood. Like, everything being shut on Sundays. I remember meandering about with friends on bikes, dashing diagonally across the carpark at the local shops because nothing was open and the carparks were empty. And Sunnyboys. They were amazing. But, as Glover points out, most things are better now – safer, less institutionalised and generally accepted racism, sexism and homophobia, and in almost every case, just better. Still, crocheted slacks and no seat belts? Crazy times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia by Steve Cannane – Book Review

Having read and watched Going Clear, watched the Louis Theroux Scientology movie and listened to about 9 hours of the podcast Oh No, Ross and Kerry where they investigate Scientology, I’ve become casually fascinated by how Scientology came about and how it continues.

While there are quite of lot of things in Fair Game that had been covered in Going Clear, it was very interesting to read about it from an Australian perspective. It’s fascinating and I’m keeping an eye on where things go from here. I also really enjoyed Steve Cannane’s style and I look forward to reading more from him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy – Book Review

I need to preface this by saying that Maeve Binchy was one of my favourite authors as a teenager, and Echoes, Light a Penny Candle, Firefly Summer, Circle of Friends – these were some of my favourites. She created amazing characters in places that seemed familiar no matter how unfamiliar they were. And in this book, she created a handful of fabulous characters but the structure of the book was clunky and repetitive and I just didn’t like the way it came together.

It’s set on a beautiful island where a group of tourists come together after a local tragedy sets the town into mourning. They each have their problems and, conveniently, they help each other through.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson – Book Review

Jess Aarons is a kid in the 70s living in a small rural farming community whose life is turned upside-down by the appearance of Leslie Burke, a girl whose family has relocated to get away from city living. They become friends, establishing a fantasy kingdom in the nearby woods.

I read this at school, I think in Year 7 or Year 8, and I loved it. I’ve read it several times as an adult wondering if it would hold up and every time it has. Yes, it’s dated and there are some flaws. Some parts make me cringe, but overall it holds such a special place in my heart. I am always trying to reduce the number of books in my house, giving away books to friends or donating them to libraries or op shops, and when I read this, it went onto my pile of books to donate. But very quickly, it came back off it. I will read this again. I will love it again. It’s inevitable.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews