Review: Cloudstreet: the screenplay – moved

Cloudstreet: the screenplay
Cloudstreet: the screenplay by Tim Winton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant. Was worried it wouldn’t do the novel justice. I was wrong.

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Review: The Shattering – moved

The Shattering
The Shattering by Karen Healey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mind blown.
With such a complex story to bring to fruition the setup of this novel is methodical and necessary. But the tipping point arrives – and the story soars! I read this until I was done, in the dark of the night.
The characters are all so wonderfully drawn that you become part of their story. The twists and turns come thick and fast, and the relationships crackle with electricity.

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Friends Forever 1

This  will be an ongoing series of photos that feature special people in my/our lives.


Mieka was a student of ours at a small independent school in country Victoria. Although she really wanted to come to the school, she found that boarding was not the same as being at home. Mieka would often turn up at my door on a Thursday night, say ‘Hi’, sit down and watch The Footy Show, say ‘Bye, and head off to bed. Not a lot said, but no need to. Familiar and family.

Cut to 2012 – 10 years later – and Mieka will always be a part of our family. She is the big sister my eldest daughter ‘never had’. She is the big friend my youngest needed when she went to school. She is our mate and friend. She is our daughter.

No matter how far away she is living from us, she will always be in our hearts. Love you, Mikes!

James, Jessie, Mieka, Miffy, Molly - Jan 2012


Grief can come to you at odd times.
Sitting in a plane. Kilometres above the earth. I’d read the inflight mag, listened to the grand final on and off (and what a great game that was!), and lunch was finished, along with a nice bottle of sav blanc. Over the course of two long flights I had finished off Mr Standdast and read all of the Agatha Christie I’d been reading on my iPhone.
What to read next?
A quick flip through the books on Stanza. There was nothing I hadn’t read already that grabbed me. ‘To the Lighthouse’? Too deep. ‘Emma’? Too frivolous.
Over to iBooks. Damn. I deleted them all to make space for The Chaos Walking trilogy.
And then – Paul Kelly’s ‘How to make gravy’. A weighty tome that I dip in and out of. It’s that sort of book. I was up to ‘Coma’, Kelly’s exploration of his intermittent heroin habit. Then ‘Cradle of Love’, and then…WHAM.
Grief can come to you at odd times.
If you know your Paul Kelly then you might be thinking that the next song is ‘Deeper Water’, and you’d be right. And I was back in 1989 or 90, at a house in Red Hill, at the funeral of a man, a mate, a dad, a husband, a friend. The funeral was sad. Taken too soon in a boating accident leaving a wife a three little kids, a community was grieving. A friend got up and played ‘Deeper Water’ for a man who loved the sea. And the crowd wept.
Grief can come to you at odd times. But it’s good to remember them.

Review: Factotum

Factotum by D.M. Cornish
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is just one of the most complete, extraordinary, thoroughly written series of all time. Cornish’s attention to detail is mind-blowing, and his world-building is on a par with Tolkien (I know, I know. Please don’t email me. It’s just MHO).
Rossamund is true, and brave, and real.
Who doesn’t want to be beautiful, fearsome and clever Europe?
And I could hug Freckle to death.
Exceptional writing.

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Review: A Straight Line To My Heart

A Straight Line To My Heart
A Straight Line To My Heart by Bill Condon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bill Condon writes wryly moving novels that speak to the heart of family and the teenage experience. His previous novels have dealt with dysfunctional families, naive Catholic adolescents in the 50s, unusual blended families, and hard things to talk about like family violence and grief.
In A Straight Line to my Heart, Tiff lives with Reggie and Bull. The kindness of strangers has saved the younger Tiff from an orphanage. Reggie’s family are friends of Tiff’s aunt, who is unable to care for the little girl, and they take Tiff in and love her as their own. And Tiff repays their love with her own deep and profound love of them.
This story opens as Tiff visits the library, her sanctuary of quiet familiarity at a time of change and upheaval in her life. Tiff and Kayla have just finished their last year of school, and their lives are in a state of flux. A young man approaches Tiff in the library, and Tiff is drawn to him in a way that she doesn’t understand.
There are a number of conflicting and overlapping story lines in this novel – friendship, family, adult- and childhood, first love, grief and change, and Condon handles them all with aplomb and heartfelt authenticity.

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