For white Australians this will be a hard book to read. It lays bare the legacy of white domination over the country’s original inhabitants. Melissa Lucoshenko doesn’t pull her punches when describing the effects of violence, abuse, poverty and alcohol. It’s gut-wrenching and so sadly predictable, given white culture’s assumption of superiority, and the means of force to impose it. There’s a great scene at a party visited by cops where the Aboriginals savagely - and effectively - mock the evils of white society.
On the other hand, it’s also a story that shows us how Aborigines relate to land, to country, and how important family is. The country in question here is a river bend in northern NSW where there’s an island known as Ava’s Island, after an ancestor who birthed a child there after fleeing would-be captors. It’s a very lively story with a battle for land at its heart that makes for gripping reading. Corrupt mayor Jim Buckley wants to make a lot of money selling off the riverbank near Ava’s Island for a prison. Lucoshenko has us barracking hard for Buckley to get his comeuppance.
One of the great things about this book is the cadence of Aboriginal speech, which is very distinctive and uses native words. (Crows are called waarks - a terrific word that accurately describes their cries.) Another is the description of Uncle Richard and others conducting deep emotional healing for scarred people as unpleasant revelations are made. We know now that abuse lives on through generations. I especially liked the idea that there doesn’t necessarily have to be forgiveness, just an agreement to go on living together. This is a really compelling story that all Australians should read. It’s often grim, but often funny and hopeful too. The “Too Much Lip” of the title refers to feisty Kerry, who loves to ride her Harley motorbike.
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 954 KB
- Print Length: 303 pages
- Publisher: University of Queensland Press (25 July 2018)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07DF9LNKP
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 62 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,618 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)