Love this review of “Thursday’s Child”

August 30, 2018 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Reflections, role model, Social mores, Social Responsibility, Writing, Writing and Life | 9 Comments
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I am honoured to receive this wonderful review from a reader. Thank you Janet.

Dear Linda,

I’ve just finished reading “Thursday’s Child” and found it a fine piece of writing.

These days I have two simple criteria with regard to novels. I ask:
1. Did I care what happens to the people in the story?
2. Does the author present the story without me being aware of her techniques?

On both these criteria, your book gets a large tick.

I cared very much what happened to all the characters. Of course, Tori is the main focus, but her parents, her siblings, Adele, Gwen feel like real people with their own strengths and weaknesses, their own needs. I even cared about Grizzly, wondering if he continued as he began, or whether his encounters with Tori and Dad change him.

Your story kept me engaged, not wanting to rush ahead because what was happening in each moment mattered, but also keen to know how things would turn out. You write with skill, but, as I read, I was not aware of that. In other words, you, the writer kept yourself “out of the way”. That said, I do think a strength of your writing lies in the natural feel of the dialogue.

One aside: I remember that earth tremor in the early 1960s! I was living in Campbelltown at the time, and all the cups rattled in the cupboard!

At the library session on “Thursday’s Child” there was some discussion about the negative references to God and the church; people thought church schools would not allow their children to read such a book. Well, any church school that bans this book would also have to ban large parts of the bible, including the words from Psalm 22 that the gospel writer attributes to Jesus on the cross: My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?” The psalm adds the words: “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” which express well Tori’s feelings, albeit in more literary language.

Actually there are many ethical/moral questions in your story, which could be explored fruitfully in a classroom: male violence and rape, abortion (legal or illegal?) and what support should be given to young mothers.

One moral issue that impresses me is that of vengeful violence. Questions that arise include: Does revenge work for the one who has been violated? Does punishment convince the perpetrator? Then there is the dilemma of whether or not to involve the police, with all the problems that entails, and whether personal vengeance is justified.

I suppose what I am saying is that it is many years since I worked in schools, public and Catholic, and primary school rather than secondary, but in those days I felt more free to discuss thorny issues in the Catholic school than I had in the public ones.
I will give the book to my niece who has a fifteen-year old daughter. I will be very interested to hear their responses.

So, Linda, in summary, congratulations.

Kind wishes,

Janet

 

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Accentuate the Positive

September 2, 2015 at 9:02 pm | Posted in Family, Gratitude, Memoir, role model | 7 Comments
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Recently I read a post about inspiration on a writing blog that included the words to the song, Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive. (Music written by Harold Arlen; lyrics by Johnny Mercer; published 1944).

The blog writer said it was Frank Sinatra who sang it, but Bing Crosby actually first sang it in blackface in “Here Come the Waves”, and I distinctly remember Bing singing it with the Andrews Sisters. (Here it is, 1940s). Our whole family loved Bing Crosby, and I think it was because he sang it that I remember it so well from my childhood.

You’ve got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum

Bring gloom down to the minimum

Have faith or pandemonium’s

Liable to walk upon the scene

I have spoken before about my father and his positive attitude to life. Seeing the words brought back many so memories of Dad. In later life, when he was legally blind, deaf, physically ailing and often lonely (Mum had died many years before), instead of bemoaning his fate, he would sing this song and whoever was there would join in singing with him.

My dad, Ernest Thompson August 2007, aged 86

My dad, Ernest Thompson August 2007, aged 86

Whenever he was asked how he was, he’d say, “Top of the world!”, even if he wasn’t feeling that way. He said that always talking positive would make you feel better and that saying negative things only made you feel bad. So, he would always accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for the things he did have..

He was a great role model for us all, not just family and friends, but everyone he came into contact with. He has been physically gone for over two years now, but he will always be there for me.

Linda Visman

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