Thursday, December 1, 2011

Book reviews: Three Australian women write

I've read these three books over the last month and I thought I'd share them with you because while they are all different, I enjoyed all of them.

The first is a funny and light read by Australian mum and blogger, Kerri Sackville.  Called 'When my husband does the dishes', it is about marriage and motherhood.  She has three kids (11, 9 and 3) and writes so well about having kids (I laughed, embarrassingly, out loud on the train reading some bits).

I didn't love all her stuff about marriage (first section of the book, so be warned), probably just because I'm really not comfortable with having a go at husbands.  It's such a part of Australian female culture, and can be quite bonding and entertaining, but ends up being quite disrespectful of guys.

Aside from that, it's fun - a little bit of therapy for mums in a book (and reassurance that you are not alone!).

The second book, 'Me of the never never',  is by the Australian comedian and mother of five, Fiona O'Loughlin.  I saw her live show a few years ago, and she is very funny.  I laughed a bit too loudly (desperate mother, leaving the house at night for the first time in months).

But this book is not so much of a 'ha, ha', laugh out loud type book.  It's actually not even a particularly well-written book.  I suspect her editor let her have free rein, knowing that the book would sell.  This book tells the story of her life, her family and her journey into performance.   I liked the way that she highly values her family, siblings, husband, children.  I liked the way she talks about the hard things that go on in families, but that they still love and value each other in  the midst of it all.

The third book is different altogether.  'Her father's daughter',  is my favourite of the three.  I heard Alice Pung interviewed on the radio earlier this year and when I saw this book at the library I knew I had to read it.

She tells her own story of growing into adulthood and processing the impact of having a father who lived through the horrors of the killing fields in Cambodia in the mid-1970's, managing to flee to Australia to start again.  She retells the story of her father's experience surviving the killing fields (gruesome and confronting) through his eyes.  It explain her father's fearful concerns for his four children as they grow up living life as normal Aussie kids - he constantly reminds them of how they might die if they do x or y.

I've not done justice to this book in this little summary.  I thought she wrote beautifully, carefully and thoughtfully.  Pung also wrote another book when she was younger, poking fun at her upbringing in a migrant family, but I've not read that.  This book does not have that tone at all.  It is a book that brings much depth and understanding to the impact of these types of traumas on a family.

Happy reading!

P. S. If these books aren't available at your local library, please request them.  Generally the library will purchase a book if it is requested (not always, but often) and this helps Australian writers to sell more books.  

2 comments:

Pip said...

So as a librarian do you get to jump the queue of hold requests? Or wait six months/a year like the rest of us (or is that just my little state library???) : )

Jenny said...

No, I've been on the holds list for months for quite a few books too. The one advantage I have is that if I see a new book has come into the library I can quickly put a hold on it but there is often already a queue. Probably worse in your part of the world.