Post Script: How Not to Disappear – Clare Furniss

How Not To Disappear

How Not To Disappear

Clare Furniss

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781471144820

 

Description:

Our memories are what make us who we are. Some are real. Some are made up. But they are the stories that tell us who we are. Without them we are nobody.

 

Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself” and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby.

 

Then Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery — Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.

 

Non Pratt’s Trouble meets Thelma and Louise with a touch of Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey, Clare Furniss’ remarkable How Not To Disappear is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel that will make you laugh and break your heart.

 

My View:

This is an engaging read, at time hilarious, at times poignant and heartbreaking – it may sound like I am describing a modern YA romance but this book is so much more than that. It is a coming of age story, a story of the circle of life – and in particular focusses on end of life/beginning of life, relationship and dementia.   But it is also about memory and identity, prejudice, love, family, assumptions, domestic violence and unplanned pregnancy…this narrative discusses so many issues you will wonder how the author managed to weave them all into a totally engaging and meaningful story. I enjoyed every moment of this – so much so I had a tear in my eye at its end.

 

In the acknowledgments Clare Furniss gives “heartfelt thanks” to the many friends, family and colleagues who “made the writing of this book possible in so many ways, from proofreading, and advising on historical details to child-minding and …support.”(p.407)

I would like to give my heart think thanks to Clare Furniss for:

  • Writing diverse characters  – with flaws, with temperaments, with histories, with dignity, with life experiences – the good and the bad.
  • Writing empathetically about aging and dementia.
  • Writing a complex narrative with so many social issues woven into its fabric – book clubs take heed – this book will suit your purposes very well.
  • Writing strong female protagonists – I loved then all – Gloria, Hattie, Kat, Edie, Alice, Hattie’s mum….
  • For not taking the easy way out and letting the car accident resolve the “problem” – no spoilers here.
  • For exploring and revealing the intricacies and diversity of relationships, the give and take, the abuse of.
  • For allowing Hattie to determine her own future.
  • For writing a wonderful mystery with twists and turns that you won’t anticipate.
  • For not sugar coating
  • For the dual story line/dual time lines – I loved the social commentary, the social history.
  • For writing a narrative that a fifteen year old or a fifty year old can enjoy.
  • For giving me a most enjoyable and entertaining evenings read.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Holidays – William McInnes

A real Aussie larrikin.

Holidays

Holidays

William McInnes

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733633126

 

Description:

‘A holiday is a time when you do lovely things that you never get a chance to really do otherwise.’ So Iris McInnes told her young son, William, as she tried to explain the meaning of a holiday.

 

This book is about the Australian love affair with holidays.

 

It is about going away and staying home. It’s about the relaxing times you had as a kid, escapes you have with your children and the stories you hear from your friends.

 

It can be about a romantic sunset, the spare seat at breakfast being taken by an attractive stranger, a miraculous airline upgrade – or missing bags, unfortunate rashes and wrong turns that lead to places you definitely did not intend to go.

 

But most of all it’s about being in your backyard in an above ground pool, floating in circles, staring at the clouds as you go round and round and knowing that life is sweet because you are on holidays.

 

 

My View: William McInnes – a real Aussie larrikin.

At the beginning of this book I laughed so much the tears ran down my cheeks, at the end I cried silent sad tears. A remarkable book of memories and more.

 

William McInnes writes a beautiful creative memoir; he paints colourful images of the innocence of childhood, life in a small town, growing up, family holidays, and then about the holidays he created with his own family and the last holiday he had with his wife before she died.

 

I especially like hearing the tales written in his childhood voice – his first recollection of a holiday with his mum and siblings that involved the wonder of train travel (some hilarious laugh out loud anecdotes around train toilets…) and memories of school holidays and then the outrageous recounting of “school holiday activities” (I know you will either have your own memories of these type of activities or you would have enrolled your own children in the like), “All across Australia there were schemes, plans, events – activities – that were designed to entertain holidaying children and get them out of their parent’s hair for a few hours a day…Basket weaving, pottery, painting, orienteering, craft design, woodwork and holiday swim camps. Almost any activity that could be thought of to eat up holiday time got a run in the suburbs of Australia.” (p.51) I loved the story of the “Day long body building and health ‘tutorial’.” This particular story is pure childhood, fun and full of fart jokes – a kid’s paradise. This started me laughing once again so much so I had to explain the reason to my husband; I laughed so much explaining the joke I cried.

 

Hidden amongst these hilarious anecdotes are gems of wisdom and astute observations. At one time McInnes is working away from home staying in a hotel, alone in his room he starts to feel lonely then has a revelation: “I realise I am no that lonely. I lie here and think of how much I like my friends. How much I love my family, the one I grew up with and the one I have…Sometimes the best place to realise what you’ve got is the loneliest place.” p.216) This book is filled with such gems.

 

McInnes concludes this charming, fascinating account of holidays and what they mean with these words; “It’s when the memories of a place, and the people who passed the time with you there, all come colliding with the present that the acute feeling of simply being human can be so great. (p. 279)…and “How, if we are lucky and are loved enough, we might become cherished holiday memories, for holidays may be the realest, most sweetest part of life.”(p. 286)

 

Read “Holidays”, laugh, cry, remember…plan your next holiday now.

 

 

 

 

El Condor Pasa ( If I Could) – Simon & Garfunkel

Paul Simon wrote:
I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail.
Yes I would.
If I could,
I surely would.
I’d rather be a hammer than a nail.
Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.

CHORUS
Away, I’d rather sail away
Like a swan that’s here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground,
he gives the world
its saddest sound,
its saddest sound.

I’d rather be a forest than a street.
Yes I would.
If I could,
I surely would.

Time to Say Goodbye…

Yesterday we sold our van. It left me with mixed feelings.. We loved that car, had some great camping adventures  but a few months back we decided that we would like to spend more time away and concluded that a caravan would now best meet our needs.  So the van had to go.

119Esperance WA

IMG_1112 Mt Augustus Caravan Park

Mt Augustus WA

Carol Seeley

Free Camping

 IMG_0955 De Grey River

The Pilbara

It is time to start looking for that caravan and creating some new memories.