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
Tragic, and simple, and remarkably uncomplicated. Lydia is dead. The family don't know how it happened. They're a family that, historically, doesn't shTragic, and simple, and remarkably uncomplicated. Lydia is dead. The family don't know how it happened. They're a family that, historically, doesn't share things.
I kept forgetting that the family were mixed-race, and that this was a critical part of the story. I didn't care for any of them. The youngest child was interesting, only because she was so accepting of being overlooked. It was an easy read, and I enjoyed it in the reading. Good, clean sentences with an ideal paragraph length. Even though it works through events before and after Lydia's death, you're not confused about which story is which. But, it didn't challenge me to think; about the people, the language, the mystery, or the themes. I found the story rather unremarkable. Perhaps this is a commentary on my own childhood, or maybe even a reflection of the other books I usually read. I've seen a lot of debate about 'what happens' in the end. But at no point did I think that was unclear. I don't believe it requires 'interpretation'. It was interesting, but it wasn't momentous. Either way, finally a book I can give away to friends as 'ideal holiday reading'....more
I don't know who wrote the blurb for Goat Mountain, but I want to read a book written by them. That blurb is brilliant. It is tense and provocative. II don't know who wrote the blurb for Goat Mountain, but I want to read a book written by them. That blurb is brilliant. It is tense and provocative. It promises conflict, suspense, mystery, and some sort of generational 'coming of age' transformation. Which Goat Mountain fails to deliver. I found it insipid and repetitive with no real meaning. It explores no concepts of what it means to be man, it doesn't explore family relationships or religion. It leaves too many stones unturned, and too many stones stepped on in exactly the same way, and by the same person, over and over again. The author should sell his next great story idea to the guy that wrote the blurb. I would definitely buy that. One star....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