A beautiful story about a courageous young boy, his mother, and the father who cared for them both as they lived with, and died of, AIDS.
It's the mid-A beautiful story about a courageous young boy, his mother, and the father who cared for them both as they lived with, and died of, AIDS.
It's the mid-eighties, and HIV/AIDS is known only as something to be feared. It's seen as a disease of drug users and gay men. Yet the people most removed from those scenes may be the ones who fear it most.
Including Suzi and Troy, there were less than 100 known cases of AIDS in Australia at the time. As minorities within the minority, Suzi was one of four women, and Troy was one of three children. No matter what their story, it would forge a new and closely observed path.
When do you tell people, how do you do that, how will they react? How do you make it normal for a young boy to grow up knowing he's dying? How will he cope in school, how will the school cope?
More than anything, I'm touched by the way Lovegrove has shared a wholly emotional part of his life with us without sensationalising the text. Without intention, he shows us what a remarkable husband and father he was. He is pragmatic, but shares emotion and confusion with a raw honesty. It makes it easy to share the time with him and comprehend some degree of his struggle. Too often, sharing a story such as this can slip into an arduous outpouring of grief or an effort to elevate the 'battle for life' to something beyond inspirational. He's not begging to be understood, or trying to justify anything. He's just here to share some of Troy's story with us.
As devastating as this time was, it must also have been rather beautiful. The life of a young boy who loses his mother, who understands that he too is dying, and looks forward to getting to know her properly when he meets her in heaven....more
The blurb will tell you literally everything you need to know about this book. The story is right there on the cover. Guy feels useless. Tries to killThe blurb will tell you literally everything you need to know about this book. The story is right there on the cover. Guy feels useless. Tries to kill himself. Fails. Decides to donate a kidney. Has to clean his life up to do that. Cleans his life up so he can do that. (Meets girl, takes care of dog.) Good, straightforward, uncomplicated holiday reading. At times humourous. Overall, very believable dialogue and characters. I didn't like how the chapters were partitioned into the separate perspectives of each key character. It was annoying to feel like they had been simplified that way, but I can see how it made the writing (and the reading) smoother. Bizarrely, the book just sort of ends without any resolution to the .. incident. It doesn't feel like the sort of book that would do that. I was left a bit perplexed, but then realised it was kind of in line with what the character was doing anyway. Although, it's still odd. Would make a spirited Australian film which I'm sure would be popular.*
While I didn't 'like' the book as such, I was reading it to a deadline and thoroughly grateful that I could process it so quickly. The author is correct, 'an easy read' is not a criticism, it's hard to write something that is this easy for a reader to read.
*(although I don't understand the appeal of that 'Offspring' television program - which even the author discussed as a parallel.)...more
This book takes you to the nowhere between places. This book is a different kind of time. This book is theThis book will be whatever metaphor you need.
This book takes you to the nowhere between places. This book is a different kind of time. This book is the edge of drowsiness you feel while sitting in the sun. This book is an endless meadow. This book is the crevice between silence and cacophony. This book is the floaters in your eyes. This book is the crackle of an old record, skipping in its tracks. This book is the purgatory you cannot not leave. This book.
Mark Tedeschi is no writer. However, he is a lawyer and that makes him a decent storyteller. He has done a truly impressive job of researching the lifMark Tedeschi is no writer. However, he is a lawyer and that makes him a decent storyteller. He has done a truly impressive job of researching the life of Eugenia Falleni; piecing together scraps of history from someone who went to great lengths to cover their trail. I understand why he was drawn to this case, and how he was outraged at Eugenia's trial and treatment as a suspect of murder. But in the end, even he relies on speculation and conjecture. This book is not about examining the truth, but it goes to great lengths to detail how the legal system at the time was unprepared for a case such as this. Had Tedeschi more mastery of his words, and less reliance on sensationalising the text, he may have delivered a powerful and confronting work. The story of Eugenia's life is tragic, it doesn’t need highly emotive words to show that. I feel that the text deserved a more sympathetic tone and less ‘lawyer’ speak designed to shock the reader. Eugenia was not a "transgender warrior". The legal system failed her, and she passively went along with that process. Tedeschi masters the critical analysis of the legal process, but this book is not a courtroom and he overdoes the fanfare in a defence that can’t help Eugenia now. You should read this book, you should know this story. My three stars only reflect that Tedeschi is better placed as a lawyer, and not an author.
*Side note: There's a two page anecdote about a racehorse named Zulu(view spoiler)[ that seems to have no other purpose than to support a metaphor about Eugenia's lawyer being like a pathetic racehorse, and the prosecutor being akin to Phar Lap. Sure, that seems amusing if you don’t have to tell the backstory about the horse to start with; and if you don’t then say the trial was like a boxing match with the opposing counsel being in different weight divisions. Which is it? A horse race or a boxing match? I know your research unearthed a random tale about a horse; but Mark, you could have left that bit out. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Raising the Stakes has clearly been put together over many years, and published at a particularly interesting and volatile time for the sector. If, liRaising the Stakes has clearly been put together over many years, and published at a particularly interesting and volatile time for the sector. If, like myself, you work in an Australian university you'll probably feel like we're on the cusp of big change. Coaldrake and Stedman have managed to capture that beautifully. They've delivered an astute and thought-provoking analysis of how Australian universities came to be the way they are, how they're tied to national and international politics, the diversity and impact of current challenges, what we're actually trying to achieve, and how the future may or may not take shape.
If you've ever felt like you 'just don't get it', this is for you.
That said, the reading is still pretty dense. If you don't work in the sector, these pages won't bring you a lot to love. There's a good amount of policy and political history, and great comparisons to how higher education operates in other countries. The writing can be a bit sparse at times, and there is definitely a level of assumed understanding. While the writing is of a high quality and practically flawless, it addresses a topic that is, on the whole, rather dry. That's not remedied by the generous smattering of colloquialisms and metaphors that are, I assume, designed to bring the text back to a level that appeals to the common reader. (Is university quality much like pornography, is it really??)
All up, I think I properly captured only about 1/3 of this book, and those parts gave me great understanding of the sector and provoked a great many thoughts, theories, and questions about the future in higher ed. I loved those parts. Of the rest, there are large tracts where I was just reading the text without processing any content. There's a large commitment to rankings and funding that washed straight past me. That's a result of many factors, probably more so about my other commitments than about the book itself. But it's by no means a piece of light reading.
For me, the book provided more of an analysis than a vision to influence industry change. I'm left wondering who is in control, who should be in control, and what exactly are we trying to achieve. As MOOCs gather steam and fee deregulation is mentioned time and time again, I'll be interested to see what the next few years has in store....more
I was early for an appointment, and needed something to read. This book felt good in my hand, and I thought I would learn something about early exploraI was early for an appointment, and needed something to read. This book felt good in my hand, and I thought I would learn something about early exploration of Australia. For that intent, I was disappointed. The book frustrated me for a long time. It seemed poorly organised with dates, places, and names thrown about in paragraphs with no real order or thought. It wasn't organised by date, explorer, location, or anything else I could predict. There was no information about who the explorers were, why they were out there or who they were connected to. There's a chapter that just lists the supplies that different parties took with them. I had no context of why I should be interested. I wasn't learning anything in this messy stream of consciousness! But, this is not a history book. When I finally realised that, that it didn't matter that I had no idea who these people were, I started to enjoy it. If you have a good knowledge of some of the key players in Australian pioneering, you'll probably warm to this much quicker than I did. I respect the great depth of research that must have gone in to producing this piece, and it really is comprehensive in a most obscure way. I still didn't learn anything, I can't tell you dates or locations. But I still had a laugh or two along the way....more
While the quality of this work as a piece of prose cannot go unnoticed, I am truly in awe of Siemon's seemingly boundless dedication to resurrecting tWhile the quality of this work as a piece of prose cannot go unnoticed, I am truly in awe of Siemon's seemingly boundless dedication to resurrecting the family history of the Mayne family. By piecing together fragments of information from the 1800s, she has managed to separate the filaments of rumour and truth, and offers a very credible acceptance of past crimes and torment, while making a strong case for compassionate redemption. The book is littered with interesting historical information about Brisbane. Knowing the area well, I found that it presented a great depth of character for a capital city which some consider to be still in its infancy. Siemon obviously respects Brisbane, and understands its rapid development in that time. The final stages of the book are a little brusque, and Siemon's writing takes on an almost pleading style as she accounts for James Mayne's efforts to ameliorate his father's legacy. You are left cold, with an empty pity for Patrick Mayne's children.
The information that Siemon started with was undoubtedly just patchy rumour. But her research to find "the truth" encompasses not just the Mayne family, but the whole of new Brisbane town. It is incredibly well researched and must have consumed her life while she was creating it. She has reconstructed history through scraps of information, ordered them, and retold it together in one coherent (and indeed well written) form. She must be an incredible woman. I have a great respect for the construction of this work, and believe that Siemon has offered fair justice for the Mayne family....more
Trent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarTrent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarring at times. Perhaps the novel is directed at the YA audience rather than myself, and if that is the case then many of my irks would disappear. I've upped my rating to 3 stars based purely on my hesitations regarding genre and age group.
At first I struggled to separate my opinions of the writing with my opinion of the genre as a whole. Recognising that it was a new genre for me, I thought that some of the awkwardness injected into the detail of the world may not have affected me if I didn't intimately know each street, park, and building. But I worked beyond that, and still found some of the writing awkward and obvious. As far as stories go, this one was well constructed. There was generally a good speed and plot. However, I found the constant reference to Steven's dead companion being (in fact) 'dead' to be quite tedious. Each chapter rakes through the idea that she is dead, cannot me touched, can only be seen by him, can't pick up a glass, could disappear at any moment .. the list goes on. It's not that these references are naturally laced into the story, which would be fine, but Steven often says to himself, "Oh, that's right, she's dead", and then reminisces about what could be if she weren't dead. A good editor would have assured Trent that this wasn't necessary. To be completely brutal, I also would have chosen an alternative to the word 'pomp'; but that's neither here nor there.
All of that aside, I did enjoy it. It was very easy to read, and took me a few days reading on the commute to work. The pace was generally well managed, and the chapters were well constructed.
If you're looking for something that doesn't require much thinking and is easy to follow, definitely pick it up. I found myself wanting to read on quickly to see what would happen next, but still rolling my eyes when Steven would wax lyrical about his dead companion. Kudos to Trent on a great construction, but I'd recommend are more free-handed editor. ...more
I'm torn between a 5 Star and a 2 Star rating for this work. Unfortunately for Tan (and in this case Marsden) I'll benchmark all his future work againI'm torn between a 5 Star and a 2 Star rating for this work. Unfortunately for Tan (and in this case Marsden) I'll benchmark all his future work against The Lost Thing and The Arrival. The story in both of those outshone The Rabbits in terms of complexity and value. That said, Marsden says what many others have tried to say in much fewer and more eloquent words. There is one full spread that explains vast oceans of pain in only four words. I could never find fault with Tan's artwork. And for this particular piece he really does convey the story through changes in context and dimension. You think there is no real point of focus, and then you realise that you've been unwittingly forced to take it all in. 4 stars, because it's brilliant. But I think there is something missing, and I expected more from such an incredible partnership....more
I read this book over and over again when I was a child. Amazingly, I still have it and it's in pretty good condition. My mother read it before me, herI read this book over and over again when I was a child. Amazingly, I still have it and it's in pretty good condition. My mother read it before me, her name is faded on the inside cover. I think I found it on a raid in the garage one day. Quite moving for a book about horses. I don't recall the storyline, but I do remember the imagery and the emotions it brought. It didn't make it to the charity pile this time, and I think it'll be read again before I consider letting it go once more. ...more