April 20, 1999, and Littleton, Colorado would become the center of America and the world's attention, due to an unimaginable tragedy. Students, Eric HApril 20, 1999, and Littleton, Colorado would become the center of America and the world's attention, due to an unimaginable tragedy. Students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold would walk into Columbine High School and in the space of minutes would shoot dead 12 students and a teacher and leave 24 injured before turning the guns on themselves. But behind these gruesome scenes, that saw a small community lose its innocence and seen the media speculating as to why such an event could occur two sets of parents were faced with the most unimaginable reality, that their sons had committed statistically the second worst school massacre in the history of the country.
One of them parents was Dylan's mother Sue, who seen her life as she knew it completely transformed from that day after. She would go from the chaos of hearing a panicking message on her work phone from her husband Tom to the fear of hoping her son had not been killed to sheer disbelief when she was told by the police that he was one of the killers. For months she had been hoping that somehow Dylan had been an unwilling participant only to have them thoughts dashed months later when she viewed a video of the two boys in Eric's basement. What she saw was someone who was unrecognizable from the son she knew, wanting to kill and die.
That video would be a crushing blow for the Klebold family as they were forced to ask themselves hard questions. The most troubling being did they miss obvious signs with Dylan's behavior and did they contribute to the dark place he found himself in. Sue would go into depth about her son's upbringing all the way up to his teens. On the face of it, Dylan had a typical boys life that was uneventful and had little cause for alarm. It was only in the last few years of his life that a few incidents with Eric occurred. Little did Sue and her family know that Dylan was hiding a dark secret of a deteriorating mental state that exploded on one terrible day.
This is simply a devastating read. I could not even fathom the pain that the author would have gone through in the last 17 years as she mourned the loss of her son while knowing the suffering he and his friend brought to so many others. Seeing what effect it had on the family was unsettling, but it did give me a greater understanding that no matter how hard you try as a parent to bring your child up to be the best person they can be in the end that can tragically sometimes not be enough. Told with honesty about something that most of us could not comprehend, I applaud Sue for not only describing the living hell she has gone through searching for answers but also her giving back to the world with her work....more
Aussie author Hannah Kent exploded onto the literary scene in 2013 with the evocative historical fiction novel, Burial Rites. Not only did it win numeAussie author Hannah Kent exploded onto the literary scene in 2013 with the evocative historical fiction novel, Burial Rites. Not only did it win numerous awards, but was also universally praised. As a result, fans like my good self have been waiting (in)patiently to see what Hannah will come up with next. Could The Good People live up to the expectations? I am pleased to say the answer is an unequivocal yes in what is another memorable and engrossing look at a time that we in this day and age can only dream of.
Killarney Ireland in 1825 and Nora Leahy, beset with grief after the loss of her only daughter Johanna is forced to endure more pain when two local men bring to her the body of her husband Martin. Realizing that many people will want to visit her to pay their respects, Nora will ask one of the two men to take her grandson Micheál to her nearest neighbor. The boy at the age of 4 cannot walk, or speak and she has done her best hide him from the outside world.
After talking to her Neighbor, Nora agrees to hire a young girl to help around her property and with Micheál. She remembers a younger grandson who could talk and walk and in desperation will seek the assistance of eccentric local healer Nance Roche, who says she speaks to fairies or the good people as she calls them. As more and more of the locals become aware of the child they are convinced that he is responsible for all the wrongs in the village. Nance is convinced the boy is a changeling and believes she knows how to banish it and bring the real Micheál back. In order to do this, it will call for drastic and harsh measures that could end the child's life.
Kent overall has done a wonderful job of combining the vivid scenes of early 19th century rural Ireland with the land and the way people speak and the superstitions that blended awkwardly with the religious overtures of the time. It would be easy to understand of how people in a time when education levels were not what they are and medical science was only starting to understand illnesses that confusion could lead to hysteria. With exquisite writing that sucks you in from the first page, The Good People cements the author as one of not only Australia's, but the world's great writers and comes highly recommended....more
Lucia Joyce was a woman ahead of her time. Beautiful, highly talented and motivated, she had everything in her favor to be what she always wanted to bLucia Joyce was a woman ahead of her time. Beautiful, highly talented and motivated, she had everything in her favor to be what she always wanted to be, a famous dancer. Only one thing stood in her way, and that was her father was famous author James Joyce. On the face of it, James was a father who encouraged his daughter to pursue her dreams. But as his eyes began to deteriorate so his dependence on Lucia became more and more.
This dependence would put pressure on a young Lucia to stay by her father's side as she seen her hopes of romance, that she thought would release her instead backfire in her face. The most notable being a young Irishman called Samuel Beckett, who would break her heart and send her spiraling into the depths of mental Illness. With her dreams crumbling around her it would be her parents who would deliver a crushing blow with a revelation that would tear her life apart.
Author Annabel Abbs deserves much applause to provide a look into the mind of a woman who has shamefully become just a footnote in history. While we will never know fully the thoughts of Lucia due to much of her written legacy being destroyed, her talent and creativity would never be disputed and is expertly crafted. Overall The Joyce Girl is a fascinating look at one of histories most tragic figures and one that deserved better than what she endured later in life....more
Who would ever think a book about a man going through treatment for leukaemia in Australia's Public Health system could be so hilariously funny. DespiWho would ever think a book about a man going through treatment for leukaemia in Australia's Public Health system could be so hilariously funny. Despite facing at times grim news about his prospects, Henry G. Sheppard will take the old adage that laughter is the best medicine to a whole new level. The amount of times I laughed at the names he was giving medical people was numerous and I could not help but think what he would refer to me, as someone who works in a public hospital. With a humour that had shades of John Cleese with wry self-deprecation and enough pop culture references to sink a ship, Haematemesis is a quality read for anyone who is working in health care. Just a word of advice though, you may not want to read it on public transport as you will most likely have everyone staring at you as you laugh uncontrollably....more
When Bert Cousins arrives unannounced at a party for a friend Fix's daughter Franny, he has eyes for his colleague's wife Beverley and after kissing hWhen Bert Cousins arrives unannounced at a party for a friend Fix's daughter Franny, he has eyes for his colleague's wife Beverley and after kissing her would see the two families change forever. Bert and Beverley would marry and move from California to Virginia (One of 4 US Commonwealth states along with Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.) with his four children traveling to their fathers Virginia house each summer.
They would be joined by there stepmothers two girls. The children would be bound by their disdain for there parents who provide little supervision and a tragedy that would scar their young lives. As they grow older and make their own lives despite some being more successful than others they all can count on each other and eventually will have to look at the reality of looking after their aging parents.
When the youngest Franny, meets and falls in love with an older gentleman who is an esteemed writer, she will share her story and in particular the devastation her family faced with what happened to her step-brother. The topic will end up the inspiration for his next award-winning novel and eventually be made into a movie.
The children as they grew up would end up as their own Commonwealth, separated by space but united by family. This is an absorbing story of two families told with such gentleness and respect. The parents in their later years as they face the reality of illness is both moving and realistic as it left such awkward predicaments for the children to cope with. At times shocking with the perceived lack of care by the parents, Commonwealth is deftly tender domestic tale of family and the strands that keep them together. ...more
Every family has secrets. But sometimes when they are left unresolved the consequences can be painful later on in life. This is very much the case witEvery family has secrets. But sometimes when they are left unresolved the consequences can be painful later on in life. This is very much the case with Alyson Ward's family. Due to a horrible incident in her past, she has been molded into a mother who is highly protective of her young daughter. When Lyla is invited to a sleepover at her aunties house, Alyson will finally take the first steps towards letting go, confident that she will be safe. Free of her child, she will enjoy the night with her husband and friends blissfully unaware of what is happening with Lyla.
When Alyson picks up Lyla it is clear something is wrong and after talking she is mortified at what she hears. This is something that has not only the potential to destroy the lives of family friends but also bring back to the surface old wounds thought to be forgotten. For Alyson and her family, it will force them to once and for all confront the darkness of their past, as they come to terms with how it shaped them and how they can go forward. All the while they also agonize over what to do with the revelations made by Lyla, knowing full well the potential to obliterate futures if true.
The main theme that I got from reading this book is secrets and why we keep them from the people we love. Things may not be black and white, with the era, the magnitude of what happened and what we do to make things what we think is right, determining how we go forward. Alyson's families structure is clearly a complicated one that was shaped by an incident decades before, but for me this is not surprising. While it would be easy to judge the mother for the way she chose to handle things, you have to remember the time and expectations of society at the time. I would not say this was a good read in that we the readers are forced to confront our feelings about child abuse, but what it is, is a powerful and thought-provoking read about something no family should have to go through....more
Putting pen to paper in any form of constrained writing is a risk and doing so with Palindromes requires great skill. Thankfully in the hands of MikePutting pen to paper in any form of constrained writing is a risk and doing so with Palindromes requires great skill. Thankfully in the hands of Mike Maguire we have poetry of supreme impeccability . Deeply engaging, it is not hard to think, are we reading the work of a wordsmith of the highest order or someone who would put Stephen King to shame in weirdness department? I like to think there is a bit of both here with poems that range deeply depressing to humorous and even uplifting. While undoubtedly a niche read, Drawn Inward is a highly recommended for anyone who enjoys their poetry on the darker side....more
Oh Natalie Barelli, what a delightfully twisted tale of deceit and murder you have created. The question of how far we as humans will go to protect aOh Natalie Barelli, what a delightfully twisted tale of deceit and murder you have created. The question of how far we as humans will go to protect a lie is paramount. This is very much the case with our main protagonist Emma Fern who seemingly has everything going for her. As the owner of a successful business and married to a man who is going places in the corporate world, Emma is content. That will unexpectedly change when her favorite author Beatrice Hodgson-Greene enters her store. To Emma's delight, she and Beatrice become good friends as she is invited to lavish parties and becomes a part of the writer's inner circle. Little does she know the true reason for Beatrice's attention.
One day over a drink in a cafe Emma will be stunned when her friend asks her if she would be willing to put her name to the author's new book wich is a departure from her usual genre. Shocked by this, Emma will originally turn down her friend's request but after feeling belittled by her husband who she suspects is cheating on her agrees. What follows is unexpected as after a very slow start things take off with Emma in demand all over the literary world. After being nominated for a major prize her life seems complete only for things to turn on its head. Supposed friends and strangers will turn against her and when cornered she will resort to desperate measure to ensure her happiness and freedom.
The greatest compliment that I can say about this book is that it turns the whole perception of characters on its head. Other than the police there isn't a single likable character in the conventional sense, yet you can't help but be rooting for Emma at the end. Despite having major delusions of grandeur, she is smart and will make anyone pay who tries to double-cross her. With a perfectly paced storyline that is both dark and compelling, Until I Met Her is a quality read for anyone after a thriller with a difference.
Reading this book for me at least was like a surreal experience. The fact that this was a real case that due lies, police incompetence and a lack of cReading this book for me at least was like a surreal experience. The fact that this was a real case that due lies, police incompetence and a lack of care did not find closure for well over 40 years is just disgusting. Back in 1967 Shirley Eldridge and her dear friend Mima McKim-Hill worked at Capricornia Regional Electricity Board. On the 9th of March Mima went missing after being picked up at her home by her boss Isobel Hare. The two separated, which was not meant to happen and Mima would not be seen for just under three weeks when she was found murdered and sexually assaulted.
For Shirley, this was a great shock. She had planned to spend time with Mima that night and had not bought Isobel's story that she was with her boyfriend. What would happen in the months and years to follow would makes things even worse as it was clear that the police investigation and coronial inquest were complete shambles. Witnesses could not precisely provide for the timeline of Mima's movements with the only consistent being the spotting of Ford Customline with three young men and one real suspect, a truck driver named Eric Seefus.
Over 40 years later, Eldridge who had never stopped thinking about her friend, with the help of private investigate Trevor Sorenson, made one last effort to try and find out what really happened all them years ago and reveal who killed Mima. From the outset, it was clear that her friend's case was the victim of the corrupt and incompetent police force operating in Queensland at the time and that it would take a monumental effort to find closure. With the help of current and retired detectives, though, progress would be made. But with the passing of time and with delays due to other cold cases being worked upon would Shirley get the outcome she hoped for?
There are a few things that I take from reading this book. First is justice is only a possibility when you have a police force that cares. This was clearly not the case in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era and I wonder just how many other people had their lives ruined due to the bumbling of a clearly not up to standard police system. Secondly, Shirley Eldridge determination to find the truth was a remarkable story of friendship. Despite only being a short time in life it continues on to this day in death with Mima very much alive in the minds of Shirley and those who knew her. Overall Mima is a gripping tale of friendship and dogged persistence in the face of indifference.