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48 Shades of Brown by Nick Earls
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Jan 04, 2012

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Title: 48 Shades of Brown
Author: Nick Earls
Publisher: Penguin Books

This book, written for the young adult market, is two hundred and ninety eight pages of sobering hilarity, the caption on the front cover sums this up aptly. ‘An hilarious and bittersweet story about breaking free, finding your feet, falling in love, and strange birds.’ Having had the opportunity to meet Nick and hear him speak there is no doubt that the characters carry his voice. Indeed you can virtually listen to the tale as the words flit before your eyes.

Dan, the central character is cast adrift in a foreign land, his parents have moved to Geneva and he moves in with his Aunt Jacq for twelve months to complete Year 12 and his final year of secondary school and focus on studies. He finds the loss of his mothers ordered world something to come to grips with. Jacq is twenty-three, a University student along with their eighteen year old flatmate Naomi. Phil Borthwick is a persistently annoying Land Lord who finds things to fix that usually end up worse the wear for his efforts. A slobbering canine named Boner often appears dripping a ball and needing attention.

In this more stressful world with Naomi growing basil, and watering without a bra on; his infatuation with her causes him to make plans involving learning the names and colours of bird species. He settles on forty-eight as the amount of brownish shades his calculus ridden brain can absorb. The discovery that his Aunt Jacq also holds a torch for Naomi as she recently discovered that her difficulty in finding a man she liked was because she preferred women. Dan coped with this announcement but did not mention it to his mother in his prepaid marsupial post cards she provided to ensure her son was still alive.

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