Sunday, January 27, 2019

Brontide by Sue McPherson

Brontide by Sue McPherson
Published June 2018 Magabala Books


Rob; (and his brother Pen) white Aussies. Rob is completing Year 12, going to schoolies, working as an apprentice in his dad’s company and loves his dog, Nig. Rob believes real men take risks. Pen; fifteen-years-old, storyteller, graffiti artiste extraordinaire with a penchant for male anatomy. Pen is liked by everyone. Pen and Benny Boy are mates. Benny Boy; fifteen-years-old, Aboriginal, loves drawing, fishing and living with his awesome (white) foster Nan. Benny Boy doesn’t trust Rob. Jack; white, male, finishing Year 12, new to the area, from the bush and adopted into an Aboriginal family. Jack has met Pen and reckons he’s a funny bugger. He has also just signed up as an apprentice working alongside Rob-the-knob. Brontide is a coming of age story about four boys and their lot in life. Recounted through storytelling sessions at their school over a period of five days, these boys chronicle their lives. They are at times demanding, occasionally rude, always funny and unexpectedly profound. The boys like to challenge themselves and the rules, and soon realise that not everything goes to plan…

This has been one of my quickest reads from last year, (I read the whole thing at the hairdressers), but the most powerful.

It's a book that I had looked at, but honestly, I hadn't thought about reading it...I read it for a talk I was doing on Indigenous fiction...and it turned out to be one of the best books, if not the best book I  read in 2018. As I type that I think that I may have said that about nearly every book I have written about on the blog...

In the spirit of full disclosure…I did actually think this was a true story when I read it.  When I picked it up originally I assumed it was fiction, and then I read the Authors note, and thought…’oh, these are actual interviews’  See what I mean, ‘…

I told a lot of people it was a true story, and then I had a comment on Instagram saying ‘I can’t work out if it’s real or maybe based on something that really happened??’, and I started to doubt myself.  So I read a bit more about it, and listened to an interview with the author…and realised I am a twit…it is fiction…just so you know.

The format is interesting too...all written as interviews, so there's not too much text on the pages.  This makes it a particularly good choice for teenage boys who, 'don't want a thick book' or 'can't find anything good to read'.  The fact that the characters are so realistic, means that these teenage boys are no angels but each one of them has heart and personality in abundance. I think most boys will either see some of themselves in the characters or at least recognize their friends and classmates in them.

I loved this book.  I am telling everyone to read it. While these characters are not real, they are based on real interviews, and I think that the author has created some of the most memorable characters that have come into my life.

No comments:

Post a Comment