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You Belong Here : A Novel

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  115 ratings  ·  32 reviews
You Belong Here follows the Slater family from the years 1972 – 2002, finding faith, faults, and redemption, in a raw, at times heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful meditation on what it means to be a family in modern Australia.

'An unforgettable exploration of the things that hold families together, and tear them apart. It finds the extraordinary in ordinary lives, and
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Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by Margaret River Press
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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Jodie How
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Belong Here is a nuanced story centred on the role of family connection within domestic dysfunction.

Laurie is a self assured writer of both the profound and funny. His prose is pithy, powerful and quirky.

The cast of characters have been well drawn. I was invested in the lives of every one of them.

An absolute smashing read.
Louise
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story begins with a young couple, Jen and Steven, in love and starting a family. But things go awry, little things lead to bigger things, and before long, the family is torn apart.

By giving us the quotidian lives of ordinary people, Laurie Steed illuminates the exploding impact of divorce. Laurie has described the book as a love letter to the suburb in which he grew up, Mt Lawley. But not only Mt Lawley residents will relate—it's a love letter to the suburbs of all our childhoods, as well as
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Monique Mulligan
Books that make me think are among my favourite, and this one made me think about family - what it is, how circumstances can affect family, and so on. It took me to my own past, my own broken family - which meant tears - but also into a place of hope.

Laurie achieved this beautifully. You Belong Here made me ache for my own sons, for the dysfunction they have experienced also, and hope that their experience of family is not all bad.

An emotional response - that's what a writer wants, right?
Marie McLean
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Painful in its familiarity, You Belong Here is a novel that cuts close to the bone.

But first… there are so many things I enjoyed about this book - the setting being number one. I never thought I’d see the Perth suburb of ‘Joondanna’ mentioned in a novel - the same suburb of my teenage years following my parent’s divorce. I now live near Mt Lawley (a main setting of the novel), and loved the references to the parks, the streets, the shops I know so well. It may be a stroke of luck that this novel
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Laura
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful novel, full of touching insights about family life. Definitely one I want to re-read!
Josephine Clarke
It's difficult to review this book because I know Laurie and have known many of the 'chapters' as short stories in another life. This novel welds itself on the pushes and pulls of marriage and family, and identities that fight for survival within that web. I found I could hardly breathe in some of the chapters because the chaos and busyness of parenting young children is captured so energetically. It's understated, but beneath the surface there is on king wave after another. I can't wait for the ...more
Robert Lukins
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sincere, honest, and refreshing; a family (with all that contains) rendered beautifully.
Briony Hymers
Well written but the story was lacking and didn't seem to flow or be held together. I flicked through the remaining few pages as the book didn't seem to be going anywhere.
lyndalwrites_reads
Brilliant Australian debut on the delights and devastation of family dysfunction.
Painfully familiar, honest, heartbreaking and humorous story set between 1972 and 2015 and accompanied by the book soundtrack of the year, Just Hits ‘85.
You Belong Here tells the story of Jen and Steven who meet at 16, marry at 18 and soon become parents to 3 children.
I absolutely loved this book, hope you do too.

Lynette Washington
You Belong Here is the story of a family imploding, told through the eyes of various family members. The thread that runs through the novel is music - from Dad's mix tape, to Just Hits 85, to PJ Harvey, you can hear the chronology of popular and alternative music playing as the background to the family's demise. There are many popular culture touchstones throughout, including settings that will be familiar to Perth readers. Often these references made me smile - I remember Street Fighter ...more
Simon Miskin
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Belong Here helps us all to get in touch with our childhoods, the triumphs and the tragedies - the dysfunctional and the delightful. YBH is written with heart and has a light and original touch which never shouts but opens up your heart to a family that is disintegrating and at the same time coming back to life through reinvention and reconciliation. It is honest and real and held my attention to the last full stop. Living in Perth for 16 years it was sprinkled with history and geography of ...more
Val Shay
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have only read drafts of this evocative and emotionally-charged novel. Laurie is a master of capturing the human condition and giving faces to the people - chosen and assigned - we have in our lives. Through this dysfunctional family, we laugh, cry, scream, and rejoice just as if we were all sitting around the dining table before the fighting starts. I can't wait to re-read this novel in it's final form and relive the story that is all of ours.
Jean
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant debut novel by Laurie Steed. His writing style is fresh and honest with quirky imagery and descriptions. The novel deals with inter generational trauma, romance and mental health in a raw yet vulnerable way. A throw back to the 80’s and 90’s in Australian suburbia. Looking forward to Laurie’s next novel already.
Sean Kennedy
There are some beautiful pieces of writing here but doesn't quite gel together as a whole.
Shelley Carter
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You Belong Here is the kind of book that could be about the inner turmoil of any suburban family. Set against the backdrop of the suburb of Mount Lawley, in Perth, Laurie Steed paints a picture of a family going through a rough period in their lives beginning with a divorce, and eventuating into very serious mental health issues.

I wasn't prepared for how bleak this novel was going to be, however I enjoyed the story and the characters. It is definitely a character-driven novel, rather than driven
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Kelly Van Nelson
I had a feeling I was going to like You Belong Here, after reading other short story work by author Laurie Steed. I was not disappointed.

The Slayer family are engaging from the offset, with everyday moments made funnier, messier, sadder, and more piercing as a result of the razor-sharp writing. Love the tidbits fed through that take you back through different periods, everything from classic tunes to common foods that we all love but pretend to hate. This is a family that I'm sure everyone will
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Sue
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first reaction as I started reading Laurie Steed’s debut novel, You belong here, was, “oh dear, another novel about a dysfunctional family”, but I was quickly disabused of that prejudice because while that is indeed the book’s “genre”, Steed writes it in such a fresh and engaging way, albeit seriously so, that I was soon engrossed in his Slater Family.

You belong here is an ambitious novel, spanning over four decades from 1972, when Jen and Steven are 16 years old, to 2015 when their
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Lewis Woolston
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply the best new Australian novel I've read in years.
The Slater family attempt to build their little slice of happily ever after, things do not go as planned.
It sounds like a simple plot but there is a lot going on, a lot of depth. And the Perth references!
I grew up in WA in the 80's and 90's the same time period as this novel and I love that the author casually drops all these little nods to that time and place.
This is a beautiful book that you really need to read. I hope this becomes an
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David Allan-Petale
One test for a book is whether it stays with you. Six or so months on from reading Laurie Steed's debut novel You Belong Here I still find myself thinking about the Slater family and the slow, painful destruction of the ties that bind them, and how that falling apart reveals raw love and deeper undertows.
It's a story set in a place at once familiar to me and totally alien - Mt Lawley in Perth - and seeing my home town through his delightfully taut prose was hugely enjoyable and reflective. It's
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Guy Salvidge
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a domestic 'novel in stories' that reminded me of another family saga by a WA writer, Michelle Michau-Crawford's Leaving Elvis. You Belong Here starts off gently but the momentum really builds in the second half as the various family plots thicken. Steed has a knack for depicting the interrelations of family members and thus he weaves a rich tapestry of loves, hurts, heartbreaks and even a redemption or two. This is very well done and will appeal to lovers of family sagas, Western ...more
Leonie
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to tell you that from the moment I picked up this book, I found it riveting and I could not put it down until I finished reading it.

I felt compelled to write to tell you how much i enjoyed your style of writing, albeit very sad - I found myself reaching for the tissues.

I applaud you on your ability to produce such an eloquently written book.

You had me spellbound from beginning to end.

Good luck with your future endeavours and keep up the good work.
Glen Speering
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read. Beautifully crafted and written, with heavy themes, but still easy to read. The flawed characters are realistic and likeable and get better on a second reading. Anyone that has had difficulties or come from an unusual family will connect with this book like a bat on ball.
Deanne Blom
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not usually a novel I would read, but has some great nods to Perth and life in Perth in the early 80s until now. It’s a vivid story of a typical Australian family and the twists and turns that face us all from time to time. Worth a read.
Meg Dunley
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, 2018
I was fortunate to receive this book in a goodreads giveaway. It is a sad and beautiful family story that at times had me wanting more from the characters, but at other times i had all I needed. Laurie has done a wonderful job of spanning a family’s lifetime.
Stefe
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars There was really nothing wrong with this book but was not my cup of tea. The writing was fine but I didn’t enjoy it and only finished it because it was so short..
Alison
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Slightly better after discussing at book club, maybe some of the 'faults' were deliberate... Bonus point for Perth references.
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
www.facebook.com/onewomansbbr

You Belong Here by Laurie Steed. (2018).

Jen and Steven meet at 16, marry at 18 and then have three babies. The kids hold their relationship together until secrets are revealed and then it's over. This event affects the children and influences the rest of their lives.

This story is very real and believable. It immerses the reader into a dysfunctional family and covers some big themes including divorce, estrangement between relatives and mental health. I have no doubt
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Holden Sheppard
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You Belong Here was one of my favourite debut novels of 2018. Laurie Steed writes with surgical precision and breathtaking honesty: in fact, when I am editing now I occasionally think, "What would Laurie do?" to help me omit words, because this novel's greatest strength is how tightly and cleverly it is written. A story of a Perth family breaking and remaking itself, You Belong Here is a beautiful tale because of its emotional vulnerability but also due to the aura of nostalgia that permeates ...more
Kristian
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know you've stumbled across a gem when you laugh, cry and get really infuriated with the characters all in a single afternoon!

The Slater family are such deep characters with such realistic relationships that I found myself thinking "but that's uncle X, or my mate Y", and I had a really hard time believing that it wasn't autobiographical but I guess that's the genius of the novel, it draws you in and feels so real.

This is a great read for anyone who was a teenager in the 80s and 90s, or
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Cassie Hamer
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The great lie of fiction is that life somehow unfolds in a straightforward narrative arc. It doesn't, and that's the genius of Laurie Steed's approach to telling the story of the Slater family. Revealed in epsiodes (or linked short stories) Steed dips us in and out of the family's life across four decades. It's shortish (250 pages) but packs an emotional punch that will leave you both wanting to hug and hit the various family members. The chapter titled 'The Knife' is a particular standout. The ...more
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Laurie Steed is the author of You Belong Here, published 2018, and the editor of Shibboleth and other stories, published 2016. His short fiction has been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and published in Best Australian Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, The Age, Meanjin, Westerly, Island, and elsewhere. He lives in Perth, Western Australia.