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Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume I 1978–1986

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Helen Garner has kept a diary for almost all her life. But until now, those exercise books filled with her thoughts, observations, frustrations and joys have been locked away, out of bounds, in a laundry cupboard.

Finally, Garner has opened her diaries and invited readers into the world behind her novels and works of non-fiction. Recorded with frankness, humour and

Hardcover, 272 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Text Publishing
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Average rating 4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Jaclyn Crupi
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Garner for breakfast, lunch and dinner. These diaries offer unparallelled access and intimate insight to the mind of this great writer and I ate it all up. Garner has featured in my dreams while I read this and she is very much in my head which has been a joy. Talk about aqua profonda!
I have not read this book yet. I will read it over my summer holiday; well that is the plan. The following are some lines by Helen as I listened to her speak at the City Recital Hall at a Sydney Writer's Festival event I attended a short while back. This woman is becoming my writing guru. It can't get better than this.

As with every piece of writing that’s got any value, there’s a sort of line there’s a thread of muscle that runs through it and this is something that if you teach writing, or if
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Interesting insight into the life and mind of a great writer. The way she turns phrases and makes precise observations was fascinating. There were so many brilliant quotes, particularly about the struggle of a writer or artist of any kind of feel that their work is valuable.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reviews
This is an extraordinarily powerful and compelling collection of Garner's own carefully curated personal diary entries spanning an entire decade. It's totally immersive and a joy to read. Without a doubt, it will be on my "favourite books of the year" list for 2019.

To read my full review, please visit my blog.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves
the way helen garner writes makes me feel so clatteringly, vividly alive
A hard book to review. Definitely a well written book, a very sincere and open insights in many various aspects of Helen Garner's life. I read most of HG's books, really liked her non fiction, especially Joe Cinque's Consolation, This House of Grief and The First Stone.
Diaries are always a very personal kind of writing, especially this book which is written in fragments, some of them fairly short and some of them longer, Helen Garner's life, thoughts, experiences, emotions and also events in
Kathy Fogarty
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am entirely biased as I love all things Helen Garner. I can't imagine why someone would want to adopt a critical stance and thereby miss out on the experience of fully immersing themselves in her exquisite observations of life and people. This book is made up of her diary entries from 1978 - 1987 and comprises her observations of self, others, interactions, memory, nature, romantic love, mother-daughter love, murder, the law, music, the pain of criticism, grief, dogs, other writers, ...more
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Yellow Notebook confirms Helen Garner as this country's most astute chronicler of life, in all its messy mundanity and pain and glory. I dog-eared every other page until my copy resembled a PhD student's thesis subject.
Gaby Meares
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt like a voyeur as I read Garner’s diaries. How brave she is to expose herself to us, her readers. She hasn’t censored her entries, even her climbing of Uluru remains. (Here’s a link to an interview with HG explaining her choice not to censor.

My copy is thick with book darts marking the passages that I wish to quote; too many! She is kind and mean; gossipy and snippy and needy, but also generous and loving. She is spiteful. She is funny. She is
Text Publishing
The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of Yellow Notebook

‘[Garner’s] writing expresses a hard-won grace. It brings you closer to the world, and shows you how to love it.’

‘[Garner] experiences the consequences of her writing so acutely, and that is what makes her so extraordinary—you can read the suffering in every word’
Annabel Crabb

'There is so much wisdom in this book that we can be grateful that Garner has decided to share it around.’
Michael McGirr,
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To be honest you can not review or critic a diary as it is not structured and it is a collection of thoughts, observations and recollections. You can only reflect on the insight that is afforded to the reader by the author allowing you to be part of their intimate world. For I am sure many write a journal and many do not believe anyone will ever read their words until after they have left the mortal shell.
Helen Garner is one of Australia's great writers and she allows us to read her
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely little snippets of a wonderfully complex, fun, scary and loving life.
Anne Fenn
Loved every line of these books.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I just gobbled this up! What an absolute treat. Helen Garner was my first proper favourite writer, then I went off her for a while, but I have never shaken her and never will. These dairies are vintage Garner, from my favourite period - just after Monkey Grip and covering The Children’s Bach and Postcards from Surfers, or 1978-1987. Those wonderful books and stories were dismissed by some as jazzed up diaries - or what we may now call in more exalted tones autofiction - and to those critics ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5. It’s magic to read around the books I’ve loved. I’ve written down so many snippets of her musings from this collection. Whip smart and snide and kind and reflexive.
Amy Polyreader
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 19-favourites
I would love to live inside the mind of Helen Garner. I just love the way her brain ticks, how she crafts sentences so casually and draws to attention such enormous moments of truth. There’s a lot of honesty in this. It’s journal entries, so we can’t expect it to be judgement free, and if you were to expect that it would be a rather bland journal. I love the brutality and softness these pages can express all at once.
Danielle {halfdesertedstreets}
4.5 stars. I need more, please.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: oz, diaries
Every time I read Helen Garner, I want to write like Helen Garner. I did not think I was going to find the diary snippet format so readable, but it was addictive. The book came with me wherever I went. I read a bit in the morning, a bit on my tea break, a bit before I went to bed. Like always, Garner surprises me, comforts me, puts me to shame. Her observations are erudite and revelatory, often within the space of a sentence or two. She is so good at noticing, at seeing. It was a joy to spend ...more
Cel Jel
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fascinating, reliving a decade of our life with the observation of another. Her insights into events from a different perspective to mine. The events she may have been overseas for, that I would have expected some comment about when others were mentioned. I have read few of her books, but not having read this I may read more at some stage. Her writing was really interesting.
Rosie Hunt
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with Garner’s fiction, this is full of lines I want to savour and remember. A collection of snippets of thought, the strongest and most interesting themes for me were her self-doubt and her search for an identity outside of marriage. I want more!
Gus Pattinson
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love love love this book. Fantastic. A challenging read but rewarding.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full of wit and insight and maybe too much of both sometimes.
Sarah Jones
4/5 - I love other peoples’ diaries and I love Helen Garner so what’s not to love about this?!
Alex McClintock
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a fan of HG this is as comforting as stepping into a warm bath.
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A rare insight into the contempt an author has for self and works of art. Terribly funny too.
Geena Pelka
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not sure I could love this any more
Sue Langston
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great observational writing.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I'd normally profess my love for Garner, but this book has made me unsure. She says 'Ayers Rock' - and she climbed it too!
Amie Albrecht
rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2019
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Helen Garner was born in Geelong in 1942. She has published many works of fiction including Monkey Grip, Cosmo Cosmolino and The Children's Bach. Her fiction has won numerous awards. She is also one of Australia's most respected non-fiction writers, and received a Walkley Award for journalism in 1993.

Her most recent books are The First Stone, True Stories, My Hard Heart, The Feel of Stone and Joe