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April Fool's Day

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,987 ratings  ·  228 reviews
The author of THE POWER OF ONE celebrates the life of his son Damon, a haemophiliac, who died from medically acquired AIDS at the age of 24. He also condemns the medical approach taken towards AIDS and describes how he and his family coped with Damon's haemophilia and early death. Originally published in 1995 by Heinemann.
Hardcover, 673 pages
Published August 6th 1998 by Penguin Books Australia (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

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Collette
Wow! I know my eyes are still red from crying as I finished this book this morning before heading to work. Obviously that was not a good choice but what do you do? This is a book so full of courage and love that my words won't do it justice.
Bryce Courtenay writes his son's story of growing up as a haemophiliac who acquires AIDS from a blood transfusion during the time when AIDS was just hitting the news in the states. Damon grew up in Australia so no one really new what it was all about until i...more
Bev
Damon was dead. The book starts with his death, so there is no surprise at the outcome. This is the story of Damon Courtney, a hemopheliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion and died at age 24. It is beautifully and sensitively told by his father, one of Australia's best known writers, his girlfriend Crystal, and his mother. I learned more about hemophelia and AIDS than I ever knew and at the end I was sobbing at Damon's death.

This isn't a book you actually "enjoy" but it is an import...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 30, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by: fionnabhair@bigpond.com
‘Trust Damon to die on April Fool’s Day.’

Damon Courtenay was born on 4 November 1966, and died on 1 April 1991. This is his story, written by his father and published in 1993. Damon was the third son of Bryce and Benita Courtenay and was born with classic haemophilia.

‘Its not a disease, so you must put the idea of a cure from your minds immediately. Haemophilia is caused by a factor missing in your child’s blood, the ingredient which causes it to clot.’
‘It’s not something we can ever fix.’

In 1...more
Sunflower
This book is overly long and tedious in its level of detail. I understand that it is an attempt to make sense of the death of a greatly loved son, but 639 pages filled at times with the minutiae of serious illness does become a challenge to finish.
It is also somewhat dated now, but does serve to show us how things have changed in both attitudes to, and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Hopefully for the better.
(This review is of course not meant in any way to belittle what the family went through, and my...more
Pmj
After having an allergy misdiagnosed as Asthma when I was a child, I avoided doctors as much as I could. I had been prodded with various needles for 4 years and was sick of being sick. The idea of donating blood after all that was not something I felt like volunteering for... Until I read this book. Mr Courtenay didn't pull any punches when it came to describing his own part in the story, which made it all the more powerful. I've been donating blood for the past couple of years now, and will con...more
Tanya
Jan 26, 2008 Tanya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tanya by: Simone
I'm not close to done but felt compelled to say ... wow!

Now that's I've finished it ... still wow! Definitely an inspiring story of love and devotion under impossible circumstances. I also enjoyed the Australian "flavor" (for lack of a better word).

If anyone in SD is interested in this, the Central library branch has a copy. It'll be back there within the week, after I turn it in.
Brian
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay is one of my favorite books of all time, but since he's not big in the U.S., it's difficult to find other books by him. I found April Fool's Day in a used book store, and was excited to read it.

This was a great book, but not in the traditional sense. It's got the same great story-telling feel that Power of One had, but it's completely different because this is the true story of his son Damon's struggle with haemophilia. To stop his "bleeds" he needed regular b...more
Diana E. Young
This book, written by Bryce Courtney, is unusual because it is a non-fiction book. Sadly it is a true story about his young son who developed AID’s as a result of an infected blood transfusion, which he received because of his hemophiliac disease. The story is set in Australia, his native home. The narrative is told from different perspectives...Bryce, the father, the mother, the victim Damon and his girlfriend, Celeste. Each adds their own voice to the unfolding of this deadly disease.

It is a s...more
Alsha
An admittedly poignant story told in a very bloated fashion. I found myself skipping a lot of digressions and trivia. This is not of course a commentary on the life, pain and experiences the family went through, which are touching in an exceptional way. The amount of medical malpractice they went through is infuriating and saddening. For myself, I simply prefer more conciseness and deliberate focus when it comes to carving a path or a perspective through a story. Depositing everything into a hug...more
Matthew Bushnell
Having enjoyed many of Bryce Courtenay's books I simply read this one without knowing anything about the plot. It is hard to critique a book that is really an invitation into the life of the Courtenay family as they share the struggles of their son, Damon, a haemophiliac who later develops AIDS as a result of a blood transfusion. I felt privileged to be brought into the journey as Bryce, (and other family members), shared their joys, sorrows, triumphs and griefs in the midst of a very difficult...more
Julia
I've read many novels by Brice Courtenay and have loved them all, so I picked up this book with no hesitation, not realizing it wasn't a novel, but Brice's own account of the life and death of his 3rd son who was born with severe hemophilia, in Australia.

It was hard to read at times, the anguish, fear and dread of seeing your son living with constant bleeds and needing blood transfusions, often on a daily basis. It's hard to live a normal life this way. My son was diagnosed with mild Hemophilia...more
Karen
This is the very poignant account of Damon Courtenay, an Australian boy born with hemophilia who came into young adulthood during the years when HIV was first identified. It always struck me as the most horrible of ironies, that the treatment for a debilitating disease (hemophilia) was found to put people at risk for another terribly debilitating disease (HIV / AIDS). This is a powerful, compelling account by his father, mother, and girlfriend (Celeste) of his childhood, young adulthood, and fin...more
Alicia
No other book as made me want to write to author! This book made me want to do that! I read this book in almost one sitting. You know from the beginning that his son has past on, but I was laughing and crying all the way through. At the end I was a balling mess. This is a true story of the authors son who son contracted HIV+ through a blood transfusion, in the early day of the virus. Please please read this book, if you read nothing else of Bryce Courtney.
Lynn
This is my all time favourite book!
I read it after having lived in Australia so the context of the narrative was alive to me. A truly moving account as told by the father of a haemophiliac son in the days when the world was first experiencing the Aids epidemic. This is a beautiful story of love, family and never ending faith in humanity.
Unfortunately a really difficult book to get hold of now or I'd buy it for all my friends as a must read!
Suzanne
I wasn't writing reviews when I read this. I was blown away by Mr Courtenay's story, the first and only I've read this far. And Damon's. I really loved this book. A relative was one of the first to die of HIV/Aids here and I just hated to see the prejudice (in the story as I was too young to know what was going on around me). I ached for the Courtenay family.
Billy
April Fool's Day, about the life and death of Bryce Courtenay's son, is a powerful emotional novel that is difficult to read at times because of its heavy subject matter. Bryce Courtenay confronts the malpractice of the blood banks in Australia that led to the infection of haemophiliacs with HIV. He is both critical and respectful of the medical profession, not surprising given his extensive experience with it. He treads a fine line in creating the characters of his wife Benita, and Damon (his s...more
Sarah Newton
This book is incredible. So sad and tragic, be prepared for lots of crying. Learned so much about blood and illness. Really wish it was a work of fiction
Berli Canete
Loved how the book conveyed Positivity, Love and Life. It is quite lengthy and a few parts I find unnecessary however given that this is for Damon's legacy, it is understandable. I felt Bryce's bitterness over the repeated inadequacies of the medical system, probably a little biased but a very honest account. I appreciate that about it too. It is definitely an eye opener for medical professionals, nurses and health workers to be a lot sensitive when dealing about the medical, moral, and ethical...more
Denise DeRocher
About his son dying of AIDS - powerful, heartbreaking, worth reading more than once.
Bette BookAddict
Courtney at his most honest and his best. ★ 5
Wilma Rebstock
APRIL FOOL'S DAY is a very sad but true story,
Joanne
Brilliant!
Karen O'Brien-Hall
Often when I hear of a death I think, it will be a big night in Heaven tonight when they meet up with their loved ones who arrived before them. When Bryce Courtenay died in November 2012, I immediately thought “he is reunited with Damon”.
Damon Courtenay, son of Bryce and Benita, aged only 24, died on 1st April 1991 from medically acquired AIDS. Damon was born with the blood condition haemophilia and contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion.
Damon attempted to write the book himself, but on hi...more
Julie
I have long wanted to read this book. It is a most compelling read and an interesting insight into not just Damon's life but that of the plight of those with AIDS. I felt there were strong similarities between "The Mighty Damon" and the main character, Peekay, of the Power of One (who I found to have little credibility and to not be a very believable character). That aside I thoroughly enjoyed the book and as always when reading a biography I find the complex dynamics of the family and friends a...more
Kathleen Hagen
April Fool’s Day, by Bryce Courtenay, narrated by Humphrey Bower, produced by Bolinda Audio Books, downloaded from audible.com.

This was my first, definitely not my last, Courtenay book. This is the story and tribute to his son, Damon, who was born with hemophilia in 1967, at a time when, at least in Australia, no one was allowed to give transfusions at home. This resulted in Damon suffering many injuries to his joints due to “bleeds” and to much crippling of his legs and arms. Finally, legislati...more
Angela
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tori

I chose this for my English Oral at school. We have to read a autobiographical narrative and select an issue to talk about using quotes from the book.
I talked about the stigma related to those with disabilities (being a citizen of Australia also) and found it hard to create sympathy because Bryce rights it as though Damon is just another person. Which is wonderful because that's how it should be but annoying if you're trying to do an assignment. People with disabilities shouldn't be treated diff...more
Sam Still Reading
Dec 24, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: my mum
April Fool’s Day was a book I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read initially for several reasons – I don’t read as much non-fiction as fiction, surely Bryce Courtenay’s talent lay in fiction and it was probably out of print. Enter a Popular Penguin edition and an edict from my mother that I must read this book and she knew I would enjoy it immensely. I started reading this on my daily commute but soon I was hooked. Such a powerful story – all completely true, you can’t make up this sort of thing an...more
Suzana Vuksanovic
It took me a while to get through this book - parts of it do not make easy
reading - but I came away glad I had made the effort.
The subject matter - a life-long hemophiliac who, through treating that condition was diagnosed as having "medically acquired AIDS" at 18 and died in his early twenties - is also the author's son.
The biography, which is composed of the older brother, mother and ( most poignantly his one and only true love who stayed with him until the end and never lost hope) girlfrie...more
Ty Parsons
I don't normally like biographies, auto or not. But April Fool's Day was different, it had a special touch, a personal note, a true story written by an author whose style of writing I admire. An insight, and educational one at that, about the debilitating disease of haemophilia and the scourge of HIV/AIDS. The story was unrelentless in every aspect with lots of emotions, and filled with pain, guilt, blame, and suffering yet showed love, understanding and family memories. The only thing that let...more
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63
I was born illegitimately in 1933 in South Africa and spent my early childhood years in a small town deep in the heart of the Lebombo mountains.

It was a somewhat isolated community and I grew up among farm folk and the African people. At the age of five I was sent to a boarding school which might be better described as a combination orphanage and reform school, where I learned to box - though less...more
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