What A Great Review!

March 18, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Australia, book review, historical fiction, Social mores, Writing | 9 Comments
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I am thrilled to share this wonderful review of Thursday’s Child from Linda Ireland. Linda is a retired academic and a great lover of literature. A member of the Blue Room Poets, and an organiser of the monthly event Poetry in the Pub in Morisset, NSW, she shares her love of poetry and encourages many others to do the same. I am honoured that Linda loved the book enough that she wanted to share her view of it with everyone.

 

Review of Linda Visman’s “Thursday’s Child”.

by Linda Ireland

Issues of rape, unwanted pregnancy, the rights of the child, the constraints of poverty and of family dysfunction are still very real concerns in modern Australia. It is easy to forget how hard it was for a young girl dealing with these issues before the feminist movement gave voice to them.

 

“One day, the times we live in now will be history to our children and grandchildren .” So goes an early conversation between a trusted teacher and 15 year old Tori as she struggles to make sense of her own present and a recent horrific past event. The consequences of this event become the basis of the story and its themes.

 

One of the strengths of Linda Visman’s  second young adult novel, “Thursday’s Child”, is the way in which it brings to life the realities of what it was like in the early 1960’s for an adolescent girl facing challenges on multiple fronts.

 

Told from Tori’s perspective, sometimes as narrator, sometimes as diarist, the story aligns the reader with her plight from the first pages. It speaks to its times with raw honesty and truth.

 

Yet this is a novel for today. It comes published amidst a resurgence of feminist outrage against sexism and abuse as voiced in #MeToo and in inspiring rhetoric from stages and screens, often from women empowered by feminism, wealth and fame. Visman’s novel speaks its own less public truths as it charts what it was like in another era to experience the world as a bright girl trapped in a dysfunctional family by circumstances which constantly remind her of her own powerlessness and lack of choice.

 

It was not enlightened social attitudes that could save a woman in 1960’s Australia. Rescue stood or fell on the strength of the woman herself, on the support of other women of generous heart driven by the lessons of their own past, on a modicum of good luck.

 

All of the characters in Visman’s novel are trapped in one way or another through circumstances which make them better people or worse. If you were born into a family dogged by poverty or alcoholism, if you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, if you were a woman born at the wrong time in history, bad luck. Tori’s journey shows us that the choice of what we accept and how we live a life rests ultimately with the self.

 

Through the raw emotional honesty of Tori’s thoughts and diary entries, Visman is careful not to present her central character as helpless victim. From the opening chapter, Tori emerges as a fighter. She recognises that she can choose to submit to the lot that is hers as a girl of her generation or she can choose to stand and fight for the powerless self against what she learns early and hard is the sheer injustice of the gender and class lottery. Tori’s God is hard and at times she rails against him.

 

The challenges as told in Tori’s continuous present are now a part of our history as women. Girls can take inspiration from her story. Boys can gain insight into the complexities of being a girl in any generation.

 

The journey of “Thursday’s child”  seeking a world beyond her lot, is treated with compassion and credibility. Linda Visman shows us that no young girl need stick to the tracks laid down for her by circumstance, but can set her own course through resilience, courage and the powerful ally of education.

 

Tori’s voice speaks out from the past to all young people of the present: you have far to go, get started.

 

Many thanks for this wonderful review, Linda Ireland.

 

Thursday’s Child is available from Amazon as a print  or  e-book here.

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Review of “Ben’s Challenge”

October 4, 2011 at 4:21 am | Posted in Writing | 2 Comments
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It is wonderful when a reader thinks enough of a story to let the writer know  how it has affected them. Carol Rose, who I have not met,  read a  copy of the book that her friend had purchased from the local store, where I left some to be sold on consignment. Carol sent her comments via the email address she found on the inside cover.

I am pleased to publish this unsolicited review of Ben’s Challenge.

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is a well-crafted story that remembers the pace and values of ordinary life in 1950’s rural Australia.

It’s a good read, much of the pleasure is in being taken back to a world that I recognise. It’s a book for adults who were children in the 1940s and 1950s, rather than the kids of the fast-paced aggressive computer worlds of Carmageddon and Grand Auto Theft, of paved city streets, skateboards, tiled chlorinated swimming pools, and instant “communication”.

It’s a good reminder of how our values were forged. For example, the notion of paying your way comes out of a slower life, and a more austere, yet more egalitarian society, where even if we could pay for modest necessities on a weekly basis at the grocery store, we had to save for something we wanted. If you received credit it was likely to come out of compassion, from someone who knew you, and the circumstances of your family.

Our values came from a world where you could go overnight camping (if you were a boy!) with a jumper, a piece of canvas for groundsheet, a small sack of food, a box of matches – not the sort of “lifestyle” that the Contemporary Camping Shop would have you adopt.

It’s a book that explores the growing moral sensibility of a young person, intent on uncovering the truth about his father’s death by hit-and-run driver. It’s about loyalty and truthfulness between friends who come from quite different places.

This world is one in which children were children, but capable of taking on adult responsibility within the household; a world in which the polarity between boys and girls appeared later in life; a world in which bullies could change and soften; a world in which an older man could provide friendly guidance, support, and touch to a young boy, in which it was possible to imagine mutual trust and respect between generations. 

How refreshing a comment on the new rigidities, rapidly changing codes, and shallow betrayals of contemporary society! The 1950’s weren’t “the good old days” (there were bullies, injustice, crooks, poverty, snobbery, some speedsters…atom bomb tests, persecution of aboriginal people and  “communists” and those who wanted to escape suffocating family values…) but mostly they moved at a human pace, and this pace invited reflectiveness of a sensitive, perceptive young person. The speed at which many people move and “communicate” in 2011 leaves less room for circumspection or thoughtfulness.

This is a story that resonates with truth, and I thank L.M. Visman for giving me the opportunity to review my life, its formative influences, as lived in country Australia, specifically Cessnock and Wangi Wangi, in the 1950s.

Carol Rose

~~~~Click on the book title at top right of this page to purchase a copy from Amazon~~~~

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