I’ve wanted to read My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin for ages and see what it was all about. I knew nothing about it (I bypassed the introduction by Jennifer Byrne and Henry Lawson in my edition, coz #spoilers) other than it was written by a young girl using a man’s name who went on to have one of Australia’s most prestigous literary awards named after her, and that it was an ‘Australian classic’ (whatever that means).
The story is narrated by Sybylla, a young girl living in rural Australia (I’ve lived here my whole life and think it was around SW NSW, but didn’t recognise many places). Many times I thought the book was an autobiography; without nothing much about the history of the book or author, within the first couple of chapters you knew it was written by a young girl. The writing was excellent and there were some lovely flowing passsages.
Did I ‘enjoy’ the book? As a city gal of the late 20th century: No not really. The young woman at the centre of the story wants more out of life than marriage and to toil the farm, such was life in Australia in the late 19th century. Without this background, it’s a bit of a whingey teenager story.
It is VERY Australian. The dust seems to settle in the back of your throat; it is in everything.
Another instance to be thankful to be a women in the 21st century, where our options are so much more than what our fathers or husbands decided for us.
Rating: 3 stars (check my book review scale) – November 2017 Book Group book