Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Brilliant Career” as Want to Read:
My Brilliant Career
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Brilliant Career

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  3,167 ratings  ·  224 reviews
"My Brilliant Career" is the story of Sybylla, a headstrong young girl growing up in early 20th century Australia. Sybylla rejects the opportunity to marry a wealthy young man in order to maintain her independence. As a consequence she must take a job as a governess to a local family to which her father is indebted. "My Brilliant Career" is an early romantic novel by this ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published August 3rd 2006 by Waking Lion Press (first published 1901)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Brilliant Career, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about My Brilliant Career

The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCloudstreet by Tim WintonTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Best Modern Australian Literature
14th out of 331 books — 429 voters
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenCloudstreet by Tim WintonA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShutePicnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Best Books Set in Australia
27th out of 566 books — 339 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Sybylla Melvyn was the eldest of her siblings and living in poverty with her parents in rural NSW in the late 1800s. She fought with her mother constantly, was wilful and headstrong and after being told by her mother continually that she was ugly and useless, Sybylla believed it all. The day came that she was sent to live with her maternal grandmother and aunt on a property which was the opposite of her family home; she flourished under their care, enjoyed music and the arts and the company
Hmm, I've always said that Jane Eyre is without a doubt my #1 favorite book. After today, this is in close running for the spot. So much to think about. Sigh. I hope my review (to come later) will do this book justice.
Miles Franklin - Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin - is probably Australia's most revered female writer. "My Brilliant Career" is her very first book, published in 1901 when she was barely 21. It was hugely successful, but she eventually withdrew it from publication until after her death, because it upset her that so many people believed it to be autobiographical. It probably was so, but like most new writers, she perhaps didn't think others would make the connections.

It's a passionate book, bot
About a year ago I realised, with the exception of Nick Cave, I'd never actually read any books by Australian authors and that I should probably fix that. I throughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't quite believe it was written by a 16 year old. It was sort of the anti-Little House on the Praire. Here being a poor agricultural worker was very hard work, people went hungary and people lost what little they had very easily. There were drunken fathers who ruined lives and kindly neighbours who helped ...more
Angela Alcorn
I read this for year 12 English, so my memories of it are both vague and tainted by the fact that I had to dissect the book. End result though: I still love it.

When I started the book, I found it very difficult to get in to. The protagonist just seemed to be a whining, demanding, annoying excuse for a human being. It's really tough to keep reading when you start to hate the character telling the story. In fact, I recall a "first impressions" essay I wrote after reading very little of the book wh
I liked it. I've always avoided this book being under the misunderstanding that it was a dry and dusty tome. (ie boring!) I'm glad I gave it a go, as it is certainly not boring. Sybylla is an odd girl, kind of like Anne of Green Gables with a fervent feminist streak. It's nice to see a romance written by a young girl that doesn't have a cloying, happy ending, and I admire her resolve to do the "right" thing by Harold in the end, even though that may not be what he thinks he wants. I'm quite cert ...more
Did I really start reading this on Australia Day? How fitting if I did. Nevertheless, I must feel a little ashamed that, as an Australian and a feminist and Australian studies type person, I had not read this to now. I kept on meaning to know, other things. Look, don't worry, my wrist has been thoroughly slapped and the most important thing is that I have read it now. Even more important, I suppose, is that I really liked it. Sybylla is exasperating and entertaining, awful and wonderfu ...more
Henry Lawson famously avoided making an opinion on the ‘girlishly emotional’ parts of this book, so this ‘girl reader’ is going out on a limb to say that it is precisely those parts that make this book worth reading. In refusing to give us a romantic heroine who plays by the rules of the genre, Miles Franklin has created a rare and fascinating character. Instead of reassuring us, Franklin leaves open the crucial questions of what is good conduct in a young woman, and what is a price worth paying ...more
In 1901 a remarkable heroine made her debut, in a book that purports to be her autobiography.

If you took equal amounts of Becky Sharp, Cassandra Mortmain and Angel Devereaux, if you mixed them together, with verve and brio, and you might achieve a similar result, but you wouldn’t quite get there, because Sybylla Melvyn is a true one-off.

She’s also nearly impossible to explain; a curious mixture of confidence and insecurity, tactlessness and sensitivity, forthrightness and thoughtfulness …. She’s
Jan 27, 2011 Kelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone, but might be particularly suitable for women (young and old)
I first read 'My Brilliant Career' when I was in high school as part of the English curriculum. I could not remember much about the story, but I could not shake the feeling that identified greatly with the main character, Sybylla Melvyn.

As part of my personal journey of rediscovering the Great Australian Spirit, I decided to re-read 'My Brilliant Career'. I have been pleasantly surprised.

Although at times Sybylla Melvyn annoyed with her self-centric, teenage view of the world, many other times s
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this book.

For its time, and the fact that it was written by Franklin when she was a teenager (!), it is a brilliant novel. The writing ability that Franklin had so young is amazing - she manages to capture so much of Australia, and her protagonist, Sybylla, lives and breathes from the first moment she steps onto the page.

I did find Sybylla to be a frustrating protagonist, due to her general inability to decide on what she wants (or who she wants), bu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Buffy Greentree
Okay, so I know this is a Classic that I should have read ages ago, but I hadn't. Furthermore, I hadn't seen the film, and didn't know even the basic plot. So it came as a beautiful surprise to find it so young and fresh in its writing.
However, as much as I loved the writing and the Australian feel, there were parts that I just couldn't get over. 'But why would she do that? That makes no sense at all,' kept coming to my mind.
So it is wonderful, and makes me want to be a better writer and have
Any Length
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Beath
This Australian classic follows the story of Sybella Melvyn, an independent, headstrong teenage girl living in rural NSW. Her family are relatively poor and Sybella works relentlessly hard every day. She longs for a better life with music and culture and she gets it when she is sent to live with her grandmother in more comfortable surroundings. Here she meets her admirer Harold Beecham and she is forced to decide between a comfortable life of marriage and her independence.

I really enjoyed this b
Jane Eyre but in Australia but she has even more deeply-rooted insecurities and acts out a lot. Plenty of angst, none of it particularly compelling. If nothing else the heroine was sympathetic at the start but then I guess Franklin wanted to show how defeatism and negativism get annoying over time. They do, but the book has enough other charms - it's probably great reading for individualist teenaged girls who think the Bronte sisters are too mainstream and who read Twilight just to smirk at it.

She fooled me. I thought for the longest time that I was reading a true story. There were things that rang so true, I think they WERE real. Franklin must have been well acquainted with the feelings of frustration and constraint and hopelessness at being so far removed from any opportunity to use her gifts and pursue her interests. The suffocation she describes is too vivid to be fictional. The bitterness is exactly that of a young person - I recognized it well. I am amazed that she wrote so trul ...more
It is very many years since I first read this book, and I had remembered it with great affection, I knew I had loved it back then, but to be honest I hadn’t remembered anything of the story. Ausreading month was therefore the perfect excuse to re-read this classic – I now think I’ll have to re-read the sequel in the not too distant future. Earlier in the month I read Ada Cambridge’s The Three Miss Kings – which I really enjoyed. The two novels were written only a decade apart – and the stories t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Kilgore
The jacket description doesn’t do it justice. Written by a young woman at the turn of the 20th century, the writing is exuberant, original, engrossing and the exciting story takes you into the wilds of Australia and the even wilder head of a headstrong and brilliant teenager. From abject poverty to an affluent life, and back again, she stakes her life on maintaining her integrity as she forges her way fearlessly into whatever life brings.
Karen Hunt
So interesting to read about the differences and similarities between that era and now. Flirty, whingeing 16 year olds haven’t changed that much, but the life they lead has. Some significant concepts (such as feminism and challenging the church) were very much ahead of their time. Probably not my favourite book, but I’m glad I read it nonetheless.
This book was a slog to get through. There wasn't really a story, just a series of events told through the eyes of an arrogant girl in the very late 19th century. Some parts quite shocked me, other parts just had me shaking my head in utter disbelief. I do wonder how similar the main characters life was to the authors life, but it also would not surprise me if they were quite different.
Tessa Binetti
Look, for a school book, it wasn't all that bad! But I probably wouldn't read it again! It was, although, one of the first books I have read that is "true-to-life".

It's set in NSW I think? So most of the places I can't relate to. It gives a clear description of what life was like for women in the 1800's in Australia!
My Brilliant Career is sort of what would happen if Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and the Australian outback and first-wave feminism had a baby.

Miles Franklin, though. Stella Marie Sarah Miles Franklin. She struggled for so long to get this book published - it was a success of sorts in the end, but she was so sick of it, she took it off the market and wanted it published again only after she died.

I wasn't ready to warm to this book - it's quite thick, and I had to read it for a course. But
This book bored me. An adolescent girl tells her life story in the countryside of Australia. She lives in poverty, mostly due to her father's alcoholism, the large number of children in the family, and agricultural failures. We hear the many details of her life at home and her difficult relationship with her mother. She is then sent to live with her grand-mother and her aunt Helen. At this juncture, I had high hopes that something would actually happen. I was disappointed as the narrator continu ...more
Fictionalised autobiographical turn-of-last-century Australian bush classic. Sybilla spends most of her youth in the soul-sapping drudgery of dairying in a drought-stricken country. Her soul cries out for two unreachable worlds: the wild bush country of the remote ranch of her childhood, and the sophisticated world of arts, culture, literature and conversation belonging to distant cities such as Sydney. She knows, though, that be she ever so brilliant, the career she longs for will never be hers ...more
So, I had heard of this book randomly but I really simply just plucked it off the shelf because it seemed interesting. I really did like the setting of the Australian Bush, and that as well as the point of view of a woman back then.

Basically, Sybylla Melvyn is the main protagonist,and is headstrong, tomboyish and imaginative. SHe is growing up in rural Australia in the 1890s/ Bad droughts and business cause her family to go into ruins, and her father takes to the bottle. She is sent to her gran
Lúcia Collischonn
I hate Sybylla. That's right. She wants to be sad and lonely and poor. I do not pity her because she brought this on herself. At the same time, I understand her in sooooooooo many ways. Just adding: Harold Beecham should be played by Hugh Jackman. Hugh Jackman should play ALL THE CHARACTERS OKAY. HUGH JACKMAN.

Now for something completely different: My brilliant career is Jane Eyre meets Pride and prejudice IN THE AUSTRALIAN BUSH.
This book did my head in and drained the life from me yet I feel as though there is some profound message to be told in the realism of the novel. As Miles Franklin says herself- it is a real yarn.
So I have a lot to say about Sybella. She was negative and complained a lot but then doesn't everyone of that age. At times I admired her character but at other times she was boring and selfish. Her feminist values were good to see but her refusal to marry was annoying only because it took out the only
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
LTD & Associates: Insurance Fraud Investigations & Claims 1 2 Feb 25, 2015 03:50PM  
500 Great Books B...: My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin 1 7 Jul 12, 2014 10:27PM  
  • For the Term of His Natural Life
  • The Getting of Wisdom
  • Harp In The South
  • My Brother Jack
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
  • The Shiralee
  • Grand Days
  • Seven Little Australians (Woolcots, #1)
  • Monkey Grip
  • Power Without Glory
  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • Voss
  • My Place
  • We of the Never Never
  • I Can Jump Puddles
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • The Magic Pudding
  • For Love Alone
Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin was born in 1879 in rural Australia. My Brilliant Career, her first novel, was published to much excitement and acclaim. She moved to Sydney where she became involved in feminist and literary circles and then onto the USA in 1907.

She was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature, and she actively pursued this goal by supporting write
More about Miles Franklin...
My Brilliant Career / My Career Goes Bung My Career Goes Bung - Purporting to be the Autobiography Of Sybylla Penelope Melvyn Childhood at Brindabella All That Swagger The End of My Career

Share This Book

“Our greatest heart-treasure is a knowledge that there is in creation an individual to whom our existence is necessary - some one who is part of our life as we are part of theirs, some one in whose life we feel assured our death would leave a gap for a day or two.” 10 likes
“I don't believe there is a God", I said fiercely, "and if there is, He's not the merciful being He's always depicted, or He wouldn't be always torturing me for His own amusement.” 6 likes
More quotes…