A great book club choice. Albert Facey’s life spans most of the twentieth century and his memoir written in later life for his children and grandchildren has justly become an Australian classic. From his infancy in the Eastern states to his early childhood in Kalgoorlie and in many small towns in country Western Australia, we follow the gruelling and heart rending story of his early childhood. Abandoned by his mother as a toddler, his wonderful Grandma is his anchor. He is reunited with his mother and family as a teenager and takes a range of challenging jobs until the outbreak of the first world war. He fights in the hellish conditions at Gallipoli where he received wounds which stayed with him throughout his long life. Despite these hardships, he remains optimistic and hard working and meets and marries his soul mate Evelyn. They have six children. Simply written by a man who had no formal schooling, this is a valuable historic document as well as a touching and wonderful read.
Although we all felt that this book was well written, the topic did not capture us and most of our members did not finish reading it. The author was obviously very passionate about his topic but we found much of it depressing and repetitive. What we did take away from our discussion was that in the early days of settlement of the land people were fighting against the environment to survive whereas now we are fighting for the environment to survive. We can learn from the past, recognise mistakes and good intentions and make better choices.
The words ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘painfully funny’ are on the cover of this book. These words resonated with us along with harrowing, crude and humourous. It’s the story of a commitment that turns from hope to sadness to burnout. We felt grateful for all that medicine provided but were sorry for the unseen personal cost to many of those who practised it. We came aware feeling more educated and aware of the realities of life as a young doctor and the running of the public medical system.
Read by MJ Readers
Lion A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
Lion, by Saroo Brierley, is a very simplistic narrative relating the story of Saroo’s search for his birth mother. While the events of his young life were remarkable to those of us living in the western world, the writing of his story was not as gripping as one might imagine it should have been. It was no doubt a cathartic process for him to record it, but as a group we did not find it to be as powerful and emotive as we had hoped.
How can a child disappear from under the care of four playgroup mums?
One Thursday morning, Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving Bella in the safe care of the other mums in the playgroup.
Six minutes later, Bella is gone.
Police and media descend on the tiny village of Merrigang on the edge of Canberra. Locals unite to search the dense bushland. But as the investigation continues, relationships start to fracture, online hate messages target Lexie, and the community is engulfed by fear.
Is Bella’s disappearance connected to the angry protests at Parliament House? What secrets are the parents hiding? And why does a local teacher keep a photo of Bella in his lounge room?
What happened in those six minutes and where is Bella?
The clock is ticking…
Bella has gone missing after she was left in the care of the playgroup mums Lexie meets up with once a week. She was only gone for six minutes. Where is she? What has happened to her?
As mothers, this would be our worst nightmare! Very relatable story, with lots of twists and turns that kept most of us guessing to the end. A few of our readers picked who had done what, but not necessarily why that had done it. Some of our readers found it a little hard to empathise with the main characters. We thought the premise was great, but it left us wanting a little more. Overall, we thought the book was well written. Another good book, set in Australia, from a first time Australian author.
We’d recommend this for readers who like Liane Moriarty books.
The darkest part of our recent history, this story is the heartrending account of two survivors of Auschwitz. Lale and Gita met during three horrendous years of incarceration and their story is a tribute to their survival against all odds. History made personal in this way leaves a lingering mark on readers. A book well written and researched and well worth reading.
This novel was written with so many layers. It was complex yet at it’s heart, a family story with real, relatable characters.
We found the writing in the beginning chaotic but as the story evolved, it was very reflective of the lives of the characters. The style reminded us of a children’s spirograph with all the interwoven, bouncing lines coming together to form a resolution of reconnection, healing and love.
We so enjoyed the use of metaphors, succinct language and vivid descriptions. They had us laughing and crying. A novel well worth taking the time to read.
Welcome to 97-hour weeks. Welcome to life and death decisions. Welcome to a constant tsunami of bodily fluids. Welcome to earning less than the hospital parking meter. Wave goodbye to your friends and relationships … Welcome to the life of a junior doctor. Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, comedian and former junior doctor Adam Kay’s This Is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking by turns, these diaries are everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward. And yes, it may leave a scar.
Adam Kay was a junior doctor working for the NHS (British Healthcare) before turning his hand to writing comedy. The book is full of snippets of diary entries that he kept from his time working as a junior doctor. While very British, with a few references some may not understand, this one had us laughing out loud and sharing stories one minute to holding back tear the next. We thoroughly enjoyed this one. And being mothers, we enjoyed the insight into an OBGYN ward. Wonderfully written with a new appreciation for all healthcare professionals.