Review: My Brilliant Career

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



What I’m grateful for everyday

I find keeping a gratitude journal difficult, as everyday the same word is the top of my list.

My son: and today is his birthday eve. I feel very strange on August 17: there’s nostalgia, happiness, helplessness, overwhelming love.  Do other parents feel like this?

He was 5 weeks premature, so I was not expecting this to be his birthday eve. August 17 a few years ago felt like any other Wednesday for the previous 15 or so weeks: worked during the day, arrived home and changed into my gym gear, went to Preggi Belly’s class, then came home. That’s what I did on that particular Wednesday (although my workmates tell me I was very fidgety and couldn’t sit still all day long – I only remember wanting a cupcake for afternoon tea, and the closest I could find was a muffin).

But this particular Wednesday when I got home from gym, my waters were breaking. Not that I properly registered that’s what was happening and I decided to have some dinner (figuring I needed dinner because a) it was dinnertime and all would be OK or b) I was going into labour and would need the energy).  Don’t argue with the logic of a labouring woman.

Less than six hours later, my son was born.  Healthy, whole, just a little undercooked.  He stayed in hospital for only 2.5 weeks, and every day I thank the stars he (and me) had the medical care we needed for no cost. Premature birth leading cause of newborn death worldwide (you can find out more about World Prematurity Day and if you’re in Australia, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation do some wonderful work).  I still don’t know how to thank the nurses in our special care nursery – the dozen cupcakes I got for them to share seem so inadequate…. Hopefully the tears welling in my eyes as I said thank you said enough.

This was the first birthday he ‘got birthdays’. We celebrated today with a party at a play centre: there was his friends, cousins, cake, candles, presents, then off to his dad’s for a family party.

Such a big day with so much cake and so little sleep, there was the last hat-tip to the terrible twos with some great foot stomping and meltdown come bedtime.

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful ‘village’ to share his special day and be so generous with the gifts he received.

Thanks all for today and everyday (another thing I’m always grateful for)