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The Family Law

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,830 ratings  ·  184 reviews
A vivid, gorgeously garish, Technicolor portrait of a family. It’s impossible not to let oneself go along for the ride and emerge at the book’s end enlightened, touched, thrilling with laughter.’ – Marieke Hardy

Meet the Law family – eccentric, endearing and hard to resist. Your guide: Benjamin, the third of five children and a born humorist. Join him as he tries to answer
Paperback, First, 220 pages
Published by Black Inc, Melbourne Australia (first published June 2010)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,830 ratings  ·  184 reviews

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Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A few weeks ago I didn't know much about Benjamin Law, other than that he's a journalist and the author of Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East. Then I watched the first episode of the television adaptation of this 2010 memoir, laughed a lot, downloaded the e-book edition, read it and laughed some more. Now I know a lot quite a lot about Law's life, or at least about his formative years.

Law writes engagingly about his childhood in regional Queensland in the 1980s and 1990s, as the middle child
Brendon Schrodinger
For the rest of the world, 'The Family Law' is now a little bit famous having been adapted for television here in Australia. I have watched the first few and laughed along and so when I saw the book they were based upon, I thought I'd give it a read.

'The Family Law' is a memoir by Benjamin Law, the son of Chinese migrants to Australia in the 1970s. The book is a series of tales about growing up in Australia with a crazy family. They are funny and charming stories for the most part, and part of t
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mish by: Kaylene
What a ripper of a book - I don’t think I have laughed so much ages. These are Benjamin Law’s honest and hilarious recollection of childhood memories growing up in a household of 4 siblings with Asian/Australian parents. The stories can sometimes be crude, vile and confronting. And some I wouldn’t even dream of telling my own children for fear of scarring them for life, but it’s all in good fun and highly entertaining. Some tender moments towards the end with Ben discovery of love for the first ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I started reading this while on a bus, sitting next to a middle-aged Asian lady. The more I got into the book, the harder and louder I laughed, and the more I tilted the pages toward the window -- away from the lady in the aisle seat. I could feel her glancing curiously over my shoulder, but there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to tell her I was laughing at Mr. Benjamin Law's mother's recollections of childbirth and descriptions of her 'dingly-dangly bits' in the aftermath of said childbirths. I ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ozzie-gems
What a crazy family. The story of Benjamin Law and his family is such a hilarious and at times moving read.Benjamin describes his upbringing as an Asian/Australian in a family that didnt hold back when saying stuff. His mum for one was just hilarious with her discriptions of child birth, her visit too Japan with her excuse not to go to the bath and her sms's to family. Benjamin's attempts to put on weight with protien drinks equally grosse and side splitting hilarious. Many of the things said wo ...more
☼♄Jülie 

What a crazy funny man, who has had a crazy funny irreverent upbringing! Loads of laugh out loud moments throughout this telling.
This memoir reads...or sounds, as I listened to the audio a very funny comedy..though it does have some very cringe-worthy tales to tell as well. Some real OMG moments!
Even so, you can't fail to hear the admiration and love that Benjamin has for his family, and you can't fail to admire their courage.
This was a great insightful audio experience, and I hig
Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ}
There aren't many books in the world that can talk about something utterly, and entirely, unbelieveably disgusting, and still make me laugh. I usually puke about these things. And believe me, when I say that there were some really disgusting things mentioned in this book--I mean really disgusting, all blood and gore without the blood and gore! because it had been turned into a joke. This whole book is one humourous situation after another, every chapter, there's at least one joke, one line that' ...more
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In 2010 I had the rare pleasure of loving a book I'd been anticipating for as long as I'd been stalking the author.

Benjamin Law is a freelance writer who first blipped onto my radar when I started reading his pieces in hipster-darling magazine, ‘Frankie’. He also contributes to ‘The Good Weekend’, ‘The Monthly’ and has written for ‘The Best Australian Essays’ and even appeared on ABC’s Q&A. I love him. He’s enviably witty, self-deprecating, and writes brilliant argumentative pieces with fir

- - -

So this book has been sitting on the backburner for a while. Goodreads tells me that I finished it at the end of May this that's five whole months where I didn't review it. Heh...oops? And this isn't the only book still waiting to be reviewed either. Eep.

You guys know my love for audiobooks these days. If you don't — well I love it. When I started full time work back in April, I found it extremely difficult to get much reading done (lel this hasn't changed much let's be real). Ev

Michelle L
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Larry Guan Yang lai
Shelves: 2013
So this was recommended to me by my dear brother who said "I nearly pissed myself laughing reading this book."

This piqued my interest as it has been a while since I pissed myself laughing.
So I picked it up after reading the torturous works of Kafka and gobbled this easy-to-read book in little under 3 days.

Benjamin Law is an ABC (Australian Born Chinese), homosexual, writer/comedian from the Gold Coast, QLD. I too share many of his qualities (not a homosexual, but I am ABC and an accomplished c
Brenna Heagney
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As the half australian-half chinese offspring of a Hong Kong born and raised mother I could relate to so many excruciating and downright cringeworthy things from my childhood in this wonderful memoir and I loved it- although I don't think mum could ever develop a secret love for the word c**t. More's the shame.

What I appreciate most in these stories, aside from the laughs, is the tenderness with which Ben looks back at the sometimes bizarre moments of his childhood. As I've gotten older, and go
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
The Family Law is an amusing collection of anecdotes by Benjamin Law sharing the joys, traumas and candid moments of growing up in his eccentric Chinese Australian family in suburban Queensland. There is a distinct Aussie flavour to Law's reminiscences which are easy to relate to. Law examines his life with a wry sense of humour and an eye for the quirky differences of his family and their experiences. I laughed out loud more than once, particularly with his mother's blunt, if crude, statements. ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, queer
Loved it. Had me literally laughing out loud - clearly I have a warped sense of humour as well. Other times it really touched me and was quite sweet. Lovely combination of the complexity of life. His description of discovering he was gay and meeting his partner and all the stages he went through was simultaneously hilarious, so familiar (been there, done that) and sweet. I've inflicted it on friends already.
May 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: aussie
A good easy light read. I love how he doesn't hold back on exposing his families silly idiosyncrasies. I really loved the mother in this. She's hilarious.. vulgar but hilarious if you can handle some lowbrow humour than this will get you laughing out loud.
Dimity Powell
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Superbly witty, observant and close cutting. Didn't know whether to laugh or cry; it ended all too quickly for me. Kudos Ben for sharing so succintly your raw, sometimes tragic and always hilarious reflection on life.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Funny and entertaining memoir written by Benjamin Law. Was a little crude at times, but the book did resonate with me because of the Chinese background. 4 stars!
Vickey Foggin
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A quick funny read in which Benjamin Law looks back on life with his kind of crazy family with love and humour. In a collection of essays he covers serious issues like the cultural differences he had to navigate as an Australian child of immigrant parents from Hong Kong and figuring out how to be gay and silly issues like the heinous farts protein shakes create and cockroach smashing. He's less cynical and more gross than David Sedaris but there are a lot of similarities here. I liked it a lot b ...more
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-people
mostly funny and quite interesting.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, i-own
This was good. The funniest bits involved his mother (the footnote regarding her and her vagina on page 11, her reasoning as to not needing to go to an onsen in japan as. "I know what old pussy looks like. Why would I need to see Japanese ones?". But then there was also an epic incident involving him unintentionally defacing the pop-up genitalia in a school sex-ed book. And his memories of traipsing around theme parks with his family; including a sad deer park with a lone emu that, desperate for ...more
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
I’d highly anticipated this book, Benjamin Law being one of my favourite writers in the lovely matt pages of frankie and while I’m sure they’re good mates of Law, Marieke Hardy and Alice Pung’s high praise on the cover also raised my expectations.

The Family Law is a series of stories of surviving childhood in a Chinese-Australian family on the sweaty Sunshine Coast with 4 other siblings, a workaholic father and a mother who is perhaps more open than most in regards to personal gynecological info
Katie Mcintyre
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Some of this was very affectionately funny regarding his family, some of it was moving, and some of it was pretty juvenile. I found it interesting to read, mainly just because it really gave me a sense of living in a family quite different to mine - much more open than mine, for one.
I particularly liked the parts where he described going to live with his grandmother for a while, and where he gets together with his boyfriend. Those parts were very cute.
I could have done without the rape jokes tho
Dec 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I read this in anticipation for the tv series starting a a couple of weeks. This book is hilarious! But also touching.

While each chapter is specific about it's subject it does mean that stories are not in chronological order and you'll be reading one story of him as an adult and the next as a child.

My only complaint is that we do not have any closure on the chapter called Among the Living Dead... Ben tells a story where none of the children can get in touch with their mother. But we never find o
Very funny book of anecdotes of growing up and living in a modern asian family in Australia. I can really relate to the mother and I suspect one or more of my 5 sons could relate to benjamin and his 4 siblings.

Love the description by the mother about childbirth true ... and what a brave woman to divorce her husband, but still hold the famly together.

There is no holding back in this book, some parts wanted me to cringe, especially the description of the gay nightclubs and the farting episod
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
There is nothing not to love about Benjamin Law's series of personal essays and memoirs from this life as one of six children who were first generation migrants living in QLD. An Asian-Australian version of David Sedaris with somewhat more explicit language and references to body parts. Maybe a cross with Lena Dunham?

I highly recommend this read for my friends who are time poor - just pick it up and read one story at a time.

Not for the easily shocked.
May 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Benjamin Law is apparently a senior contributor to Frankie Magazine but I suspect that he hankers to be a stand-up comedian. This raw, rude miscellany of tales about his family would probably go over quite well in an inner-city pub filled with Gen X & Ys who’ve had a couple of wines and are in the mood to be amused.
To see the rest of this review please vicit
Giselle A Nguyen
Apr 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Big fan of Ben Law for ages but somehow hadn't read this book yet. I really enjoyed the tv show and for the most part, enjoyed the book too, save for the gross rape jokes. I did find that I had to give it a rest every couple of days because it got a bit samey but the good stuff was really good - some really affecting chapters, like the one about hoarding and family history. Not a perfect book but a very sweet one that is easy to read and often laugh out loud funny.
Jess Zintschenko
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's only the 4th of January but The Family Law is probably one of the best books I'll read all year. Devoured it in a day. Actually laugh out loud funny (don't suggest reading it while on a plane or public transport to avoid embarassment). Despite not being a 30 something homosexual Chinese male from Queensland Benjamin Law's childhood/family life is incredibly relatable, honest, and hilarious.
Fiona Borrelli
Dec 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I was a bit torn between really loving parts of this and utterly despising other parts. To be honest, opening with a terrible rape joke was going to make it hard to recover either way. I love crass humour, but there were a few times he really missed the mark, which was disappointing. Nevertheless, some parts made me laugh.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Nice light read.

Great and hilarious picture painted of his mother.

Some of his writing can be a little eager and jarringly adjective/description heavy, but he was pretty young when he wrote this, so good on him.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
A fun and funny collection of autobiographical essays
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Benjamin Law is a Brisbane-based freelance writer. He is a senior contributor to frankie magazine and has also written for The Monthly, The Courier Mail, Qweekend, Sunday Life, Cleo, Crikey, The Big Issue, New Matilda, Kill Your Darlings, ABC Unleashed and the Australian Associated Press.

His essays have been anthologised in Growing Up Asian in Australia, The Best Australian Essays 2008, The Best A
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“Now we were like those families in magazines, the ones who served food on matching crockery, and who drank water from glasses instead of mismatched mugs. We” 0 likes
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