Mercifully, it’s not rare anymore to come across a story that accurately reflects our polyglot culture. The characters in this novel come from, or are descended from, places from all over (including an aboriginal mum from Moree). Front and centre is Rosie, whose parents came from Sicily. After her beloved mum died of cancer her dad remarried within eleven months - to Martha, a woman of German descent. Rosie sees Martha as an undeserving interloper and when her dad dies too she takes off with a deadbeat boyfriend and a big chip on her shoulder. Abandoned in a Queensland town that suffers a big flood, Rosie hooks up with Jimmy who’s also something of a lost soul.
The great thing about this book is that it plots the course various characters make towards reconciliation. It celebrates family, friendship and community without ever becoming saccharine. People slog through life’s various trials: being sacked, putting an Alzheimered parent in a nursing home, coping with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer, being ousted from an inner city mothers’ group, facing the financial facts of life in a heated bubble of a property market, resolving old antagonisms from school days, etc. Fierce Nonna Eugenia visits from Sicily. Martha, feeling marginalised in the house that she too helped renovate and is paying the mortgage on, finds she is mistaken about Eugenia’s prime concern and learns - from Rosie no less - some of the sad Sicilian backstory. Jimmy, abandoned by his mother when young, is blessed with good friends from school days and is on the path to making a good life. The twenty-somethings are smart, funny, supportive, hardworking and honest with each other. Not how Gen Y or millennials are usually portrayed. So it’s a hopeful book that doesn’t gloss over character faults or misunderstandings, and it’s written in a compressed, accessible style that makes it hard to put down. A great take on present day Sydney.
- Free expedited shipping on products sold by Amazon AU when you purchase select books. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)