The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

Sometimes when I’m reading a book I find that a particular element of the story resonates very deeply. It’s usually an element that isn’t the main theme of the story and therefore catches me off-guard.

Such was the case with Paula Keogh’s memoir, The Green Bell. It’s essentially a story about Keogh’s experience in a psychiatric unit of the Canberra Hospital in the 1970s. The events leading up to her admission (notably the death of a very close friend), what happens when she is there (she meets and falls in love with poet, Michael Dransfield who is being treated for drug addiction), and her life after hospital is the guts of Keogh’s story.

There’s no way out after all. I turn around and make my way back to M Ward. I’m worthless, pared down to nothing. I’ve come to the very end of possibility. Continue reading

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Book vs. Film: A Long Way Home / Lion

I’m skipping a review of A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley and instead suggesting that if you don’t already know this incredible story, see the film asap (note that the main difference between the book and film is that the book includes detail about Saroo’s time in India once he was reunited with his biological family, whereas the film ends with the reunion).

Film – Continue reading

What’s new?

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I haven’t been shouting from the rooftops about new releases this year – not because there’s been a lack of ace new books but because I’ve been focusing my reading on what’s been languishing in the TBR stack.

But thanks to the magic that is NetGalley, a few have come my way… This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about the 2016 new releases that have made my heart sing. Continue reading

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

Although I love a good cry, stories about kids that are forced into an adult world by circumstance, are my undoing. It’s the small details – little kids getting their own dinner (cold baked beans because they’re not allowed to use the stove); kids missing school to care for younger siblings or their parents; fibbing to hide their home situation… these are the things that make my heart ache.

So Leon, the main character in Kit de Waal’s debut novel, My Name is Leon, was crushing. Leon is nine and his mother, Carol, is not coping with the birth of her second baby, Jake. Neither Jake’s father nor Leon’s father are on the scene and their neighbour, Tina, is kind but can’t give the family the emotional and financial assistance they need – Continue reading

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

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If you wanted to test something such as the long-term effects of growing up without enough pop culture* or even the outcome of different schools on a person’s education, you’d quickly discover that there’s no perfect experiment. A life lived without Grease and Ferris versus one that is crammed full of those things plus The Brady Bunch, ABBA, and Flock of Seagulls hair-dos may be just as rich** – who knows? Likewise, it’s impossible to say whether I’ll enjoy a book more or less in an audio format versus a hard copy. So, it was either my ears or my eyes that would first take in Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize winning epic, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I went with ears. Continue reading