Review: Tipping – Anna George

Tipping

Anna George

Viking

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9781760897789

Description:

An Instagram scandal at a grammar school sparks outrage in an exclusive bayside suburb and upends the lives of the families involved. However, it might also prove to be the tipping point required to change the school, and the wider community, for the better.

 

Liv Winsome, working mother of three sons, wife to decent if distracted Duncan, is overwhelmed. And losing her hair. Her doctor has told her she needs to slow down, do less. Focus on what’s important.

 

After Jai, one of her fourteen-year-old twins, is involved in a sexting scandal, Liv realises things need to change, and fast. Inspired by the pop-psychology books she devours, she writes a nine-page list of everything she does to keep the family afloat, and she delegates. She lets her boys’ conservative school know it has some work to do, too – partly, Liv suspects, because its leadership has a ‘woman problem’ (or, rather, a too-many-men problem).

 

Jai’s girlfriend, Grace, is at the heart of the sexting scandal and her mum, Jess Charters, up in arms as well, goes to the media. The women’s combined focus forces Carmichael Grammar to take action. To everyone’s surprise, and Liv’s delight, things actually start to improve.

 

Inspired by his wife’s efforts, Duncan rethinks the way he lives and works, too, despite the workaholic culture of his law firm and its scary managing partner, who’s also Duncan’s older brother. In unexpected ways, Liv and Duncan’s marriage and family life undergo their own transformations. Some new developments, though, aren’t entirely welcome.

 

Light-hearted and optimistic, Tipping is a novel for our times. It’s a story of domestic activism. Mum and dad activism. Because real change is possible. Sometimes all it takes is a tweak. And the will. And a bit of fun.

 

My View:

I did so want to love this. I have mixed feelings about this read. The premise is interesting but…I did not connect with any of the characters, I actually didn’t like most of them. I liked the ideas on how to make academic learning inclusive, on how to remove gender bias, on how to “fix” the broken school but it all seemed a little too simple to me, a little unrealistic in its execution. I did get some great ideas here that made me wonder if our local schools use any of these techniques?

 

However the read felt a little like a parable…a lesson being given wrapped up in contemporary narrative.

 

I think you will find this a great read for the train or the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Barrenjoey Road – Neil Mercer& Ruby Jones

Barrenjoey Road

Neil Mercer & Ruby Jones

ABC Books

ISBN: 9780733340468

 

Description:

A gripping expose of a notorious cold case 1978. An idyllic beachside community. A series of abductions and rapes. So what happened to Trudie Adams?

 

The disappearance of 18-year-old Trudie Adams while hitchhiking home on Sydney’s northern beaches in 1978 left her family and community devastated. When police began to investigate, the dark underbelly of the so-called ‘insular peninsula’ was exposed, where surfers ran drugs home from Bali, teenagers hitchhiked everywhere due to the lack of public transport, gangs of men prowled the beaches and the roads, and predators abducted and raped countless young women, crimes rarely reported or investigated.

 

Inspired by the award-winning #1 podcast and ABC TV series and containing new revelations never previously revealed, Barrenjoey Road is the gripping expose of why the case was never solved. It takes us all the way to the top, from a criminal perpetrator with a lifelong record and links to organised crime who was never formally accused, to police corruption at the highest level.

 

 

My View:

Poignant and equally baffling, this is a true crime narrative that is once again too close to home for comfort. You cannot ignore the depiction of innocence tainted with the intrusion of men’s unwanted desires/impulses on the lives of so many young women. And in this read it is not just the perpetrators who are misogynistic and vile, many of the public officers are the same. I do hope life has changed, that standards have been raised, that women’s’ concerns are now listened to and treated with respect. I am hoping for too much? I still hope. I do feel angry.

 

A powerful read made even more so with the inclusion of the carefree photos of the main focus of this story – Trudie Adams. Moving and sad. I wish there were answers. Hopefully the podcast, TV series and the publication of this book will tempt someone to come forward, will niggle at someone’s almost forgotten memories. Rest in peace Trudie.

#metoo

 

 

 

 

Review: The Little Girl on the Ice Floe: Adélaïde Bon

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe

Adélaïde Bon

Maclehose Press

Hachette Australia

RRP $35

 

Description:

“Life itself is in these pages: in this candid, poetic style there is storytelling of real quality” – LEILA SLIMANI, author of Lullaby

 

A powerful and personal account of the devastating consequences of childhood rape: a valuable voice for the #MeToo conversation.

 

Adélaïde Bon grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in Paris, a privileged child with a loving family, lots of friends and seemingly limitless opportunity lying ahead of her. But one sunny afternoon, when she was nine years old, a strange man followed her home and raped her in the stairwell of her building. She told her parents, they took her to the police, the fact of the crime was registered … and then a veil was quietly drawn over that part of her childhood, and life was supposed to go on.

 

Except, of course, it didn’t.

 

Throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, Adélaïde struggles with the aftermath of the horror of that afternoon in 1990. The lingering trauma pervades all aspects of her life: family education, friendships, relationships, even her ability to eat normally. And then one day, many years later, when she is married and has a small son, she receives a call from the police saying that they think they have finally caught the man who raped her, a man who has hidden in plain sight for decades, with many other victims ready to testify against him. The subsequent court case reveals Giovanni Costa, the stuff of nightmares and bogeymen, finally vanquished by the weight of dozens and dozens of emotional and horrifying testimonies from all the women whose lives and childhoods he stole.

 

My View:

I am ready to call this The Best Memoir of 2019!

 

This is an amazing story – Adélaïde Bon’s childhood was stolen from her by a calculating and despicable man, the dark cloud of his actions remained with her for many years, unconsciously influencing her every decision and mood. Adélaïde is a brave and resourceful young woman who has used her personal story to further the #MeToo discussion.

 

Let me share a scene that I found profound. This is a scene from one of Adélaïde’s discussion with her psychiatrist (p179-180):

Psychiatrist: “Her father may have been violent. Your assailant had carefully chosen that girl. It’s quicker, less dangerous and even less tiring to assault someone who has already experienced violence.   A victim who hasn’t had any therapy disassociates herself almost immediately, assailants know how to identify them, know they won’t put up a fight, and that they probably won’t be able to say anything afterwards.   The fact that you were doing fine, that you lived in a close knit, loving family, where there was no domestic violence or corporal punishment, meant that he had to make more of an effort to make you disassociate. That’s certainly why he went so far with you. To guarantee his impunity. “

 

Adélaïde: “So afterwards, I was easier prey than the others? Is that why I attract all the perverts for miles around?”

 

Psychiatrist: “Yes. Unfortunately, the main risk factor in being the victim of violence is to have already experienced it. But you are recovering.”

 

This explains so much of life.

 

Unbelievably brave, I do not know where Adélaïde found the strength to allow love into her life and to recover from the trauma she suffered and then to write her incredibly haunting journey into the book that is “The Little Girl on the Ice Flow”.  This is a powerful and moving read, written by an incredibly talented and strong woman. I salute you Adélaïde Bon.

 

PS the translation is pitch perfect.

Post Script: Anatomy of a Scandal – Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal=Entitlement exposed.


Anatomy of a Scandal

Anatomy of a Scandal

Sarah Vaughan

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471164996

 

Description:

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.

Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal.

 

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

 

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

 

 

My View:

Anatomy of a Scandal=Entitlement exposed.

Privilege, entitlement, the boys club, he said she said…such a relevant narrative that explores themes that fill our news feeds, make headlines and fill our courts. Who do you believe? For me that answer is simple.  As I started reading this book I experienced a niggling prickling of my #metoo conscience, you know that little voice that says “ look out, take care, give a wide berth…be aware, don’t relax too much, danger, danger.” I felt the possessiveness, the strong sense of entitlement, the threat that emanated and vibrated on the pages; the tension, apprehension, a subtle soundtrack as I read on. How did this narrative make you feel?  Enough said – you must read this yourself and come to your own conclusion.

 

This is an extremely well- constructed, topical narrative that is simultaneously a court room drama and a slow burning suspense told from multiple point of views and time lines. A great read, a timely read.

 

 

 

 

This is an extremely well written, topical, contemporary narrative that is simultaneously a court room drama and a slow burning suspense told from multiple point of views and time lines. A great read, a timely read.