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April Fool's Day

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  5,572 Ratings  ·  268 Reviews
In the end, love is more important than everything and it will conquer and overcome anything. Or that’s how Damon saw it, anyway. Damon wanted a book that talked a lot about love. Damon Courtenay died on the morning of April Fool’s Day. In this tribute to his son, Bryce Courtenay lays bare the suffering behind this young man’s life. Damon’s story is one of life-long ...more
Hardcover, 673 pages
Published August 6th 1998 by Penguin Books Australia (first published 1993)
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54th out of 589 books — 397 voters
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18th out of 100 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 25, 2009 Collette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama, courtenay
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
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.
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 30, 2011 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (JC-S) by:
‘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
May 14, 2016 Deyanne rated it really liked it
Recommended to Deyanne by: Lisa
I am drained - both emotionally and physically after completing this memoir. This was a long read for me and an incredibly arduous yet loving journey for the marvelous family of Damon Courtenay. To have a son born a hemophiliac is beyond daunting. I had no idea about all of the spontaneous bleeds of a hemophiliac nor the resulting physical deterioration in the body. The "mother" part of me reading this book wept openly. How did these parents continue to find their needed strength both ...more
Dec 31, 2008 Sunflower rated it it was ok
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
B the BookAddict
Sep 18, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie-author
Courtney at his most honest and his best. ★ 5
Liza Fireman
May 21, 2016 Liza Fireman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-from-shelf
Wow, wow, and ouch ouch ouch. This book is full of pain, it is heart wrenching. It is the story of Bryce Courtenay's son, Damon, that died at the age of 24, after 24 tough years. Damon was a hemophiliac, and to say the truth, I found out that I know almost nothing about hemophilia. What is a bleeding (well, you can't even see the blood), how it is treated (several blood transfusions every week), how limited is a child with hemophilia, and what are the "longer" affects on the body, that is deteri ...more
Mar 23, 2009 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2011 Bev rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
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
Jan 05, 2012 Pmj rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 26, 2008 Tanya rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
An extremely moving book about love, friendship, support, ignorance and prejudices. The death of a son from aids.
Diana E. Young
May 18, 2013 Diana E. Young rated it really liked it
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
Read years ago. Need to reread
Dec 26, 2011 Alsha rated it liked it
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 ...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
Apr 14, 2015 Jacinta rated it really liked it
A deeply personal story from a stellar writing talent. An insight into the harrowing experiences of the Courtenay family around the life and death of son, Damon, who, while receiving blood transfusion to manage haemophilia, contracts HIV. Courtenay describes Damon's journey, couched in the unwaivering love and support of his partner, Celeste, his family, and friends. A labour of love and breathtaking tribute.
Nov 26, 2010 Alicia rated it it was amazing
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.
I think I've written enough reviews about Bryce Courtenay to give a fairly obvious impression of what I think of him. However, my vague recollections seem to tell me that this one was a little different: more genuine, perhaps. Still sloppily sentimental and with the tendency to romanticise characters, but what Courtenay does have in buckets is compassion, and he uses it liberally here. It's as sad a tale as any and you can't help but feel sorry for the guy.
Apr 19, 2012 Lynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-books
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!
Sarah Newton
Jul 02, 2014 Sarah Newton rated it it was amazing
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
Denise DeRocher
Feb 23, 2013 Denise DeRocher rated it it was amazing
About his son dying of AIDS - powerful, heartbreaking, worth reading more than once.
Wilma Rebstock
Oct 14, 2014 Wilma Rebstock rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
APRIL FOOL'S DAY is a very sad but true story,
Jan 12, 2014 Joanne rated it it was amazing
Amanda Jane
Jul 01, 2014 Amanda Jane rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written!
Make sure you are a box of tissues whilst reading.
Stephanie Strydom
Nov 28, 2016 Stephanie Strydom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
What a painful, but beautiful story. Will forever reflect on this book.
Sam Still Reading
Dec 24, 2011 Sam Still Reading rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Kathleen Hagen
April Fool’s Day, by Bryce Courtenay, narrated by Humphrey Bower, produced by Bolinda Audio Books, downloaded from

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
Jul 31, 2016 Yvonne rated it it was amazing
Heart wrenching. Tragic. Brave. Full of love. A reminder that life is precious, fragile and glorious in all its mess.

This book is not about winning awards for writing. This is a honest account of family and friends trying to stay sane while nursing a loved one, first with his haemophilia and then with AIDS. As said the very blood product designed to save his life ultimately took it.

Although we have come far in medical science we are still hampered by the lack of progress by the people qualifie
Karen O'Brien-Hall
Mar 09, 2014 Karen O'Brien-Hall rated it it was amazing
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
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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
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“The time we are given for parenting is so short, passes so quickly and is jumbled up with so many other priorities and disruptions that, in the end, we come to doubt that we used it in the best interests of our children.” 2 likes
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