Book Review: Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Jimmy Barnes

Book Summary

The time I have spent writing this book has caused me a lot of pain. Sometimes because of what I have remembered about my childhood and sometimes because of what I couldn’t remember. It is funny how your mind blocks things out when those things can hurt you. There are a lot of things I wish I didn’t remember…

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock – there isn’t an accolade or cliche that doesn’t apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny – Jimmy Barnes’s childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the Summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family – Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family’s collapse, but also a young boy’s dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock’n’roll band and get out of town for good.

Comments

This Book gives the reader a warts and all insight into the lives of the poor and underprivileged in our country and the resilience of those like Jimmy Barnes who overcome their circumstances. This could be a depressing read but Jimmy’s sense of humour shines through.

After several attempts to document his early life as a ten pound Pom who arrived in Elizabeth in South Australia as a pre-schooler, until he left home at seventeen, he finally managed to tell his amazing story.

This is more than an autobiography; for Jimmy it was a therapeutic journey through very hard times. He has included several pages of contact details for help and support organisations to encourage those who may need help.

Shocking but realistic true portrait of growing up in Glasgow, amazing survival & black humour!

Read By

Dundas Readers – 6/10

2019 ABIA Shortlist

The Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) celebrate the achievements of authors and publishers in bringing Australian books to readers. The shortlist covers 12 categories and they are

Biography Book of the Year

Back, After the Break by Osher Günsberg (HarperCollins Publishers)

Challenge Accepted! by Celeste Barber (HarperCollins Publishers)

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee (Allen & Unwin)

Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography by Johnathan Thurston, with James Phelps (HarperCollins Publishers)

Teacher by Gabbie Stroud (Allen & Unwin)

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Girls Night Out High Tea With Paige Toon

Parramatta Library, in association with Penguin Random House Australia, is hosting an in Conversation author talk with bestselling author Paige Toon.

Paige will be touring Australia for the very first time to talk about her new book – If you could go anywhere.

Enjoy our special Girls Night Out High Tea with (sneaky) Bubbles! Why not have a meet and greet with Paige to have your books signed and pick up her newest release from our on sited bookseller.

Don’t miss your chance with Paige before she goes back to the UK!

Grab a ticket now from this link parra.city/paige19

Man Booker International Prize 2019 Shortlist

There are more diverse reads you can find from this year’s Man Booker International Prize long and shortlists.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded to a book translated into English. Prior to 2016, the prize was awarded biennially to a body of work.

The shortlist for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize has listed works from five languages (Arabic, French, German, Polish and Spanish) by some independent publishers.

The shortlisted titles are:

Celestial Bodies (Jokha Alharthi, trans by Marilyn Booth, Sandstone Press)

The Years (Annie Ernaux, trans by Alison L Strayer, Seven Stories)

The Pine Islands (Marion Poschmann, trans by Jen Calleja, Serpent’s Tail)

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (Olga Tokarczuk, trans by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Text)

The Shape of the Ruins (Juan Gabriel Vásquez, trans by Anne McLean, MacLehose Press)

The Remainder (Alia Trabucco Zeran, trans by Sophie Hughes, And Other Stories).

Book Review: Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Mrs Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn.

Mrs Queen Takes the Train – William Kuhn

Book Summary

A charming, whimsical story of what happens when a long-serving and long-suffering monarch decides to go AWOL. A richly witty, warm and wonderful novel of responsibilities, escape and friendship. 

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is growing increasingly disenchanted after her decades of public service and years of family scandal. One day, the Queen takes things into her own hands and, in a spur-of-the-moment decision, leaves the palace alone and incognito. 

An unlikely group of six, including two of the Queen’s most trusted household staff members, William and Shirley; one of her loyal ladies in waiting, Lady Anne; an equerry fresh from the battlefields of Afghanistan, Luke; a young equestrienne who minds the horses in the Royal Mews, Rebecca; and Rajiv, an Etonian spending his early 20s behind the counter in an artisanal cheese shop in Mayfair, and moonlighting as a tabloid photographer, are the only ones who know of her disappearance. They vow to find her and bring her back to the palace before MI6 turn her Scottish sojourn into a national crisis. 

Capturing the faded but enduring glamour and glory of a seemingly old-fashioned institution, and a woman who wonders if she, too, has become outmoded, this is a charming, witty and poignant novel of responsibilities and freedom. 

Comments

We all thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It brought together characters from across the Royal household, crossing the boundaries of social class, to establish respect for and friendships with each other.

At the heart of the novel, though, is The Queen. She was a real person with worries and doubts about her purpose and position. She had the same emotions as everyone else and we all felt real empathy with her. This was a wonderful ‘non-portrait’ portrait.

At the beginning of the novel staff were protective of ‘The Queen’ as an institution. By the end of the novel they were protective of ‘The Queen’ as a person.

Read by

MJ Readers