Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Straight Line to My Heart

A Straight Line to My Heart A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon (Allen & Unwin)
PB RRP $17.99
ISBN 9781742377308
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Bill Condon was the winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award in 2010. In this outstanding, perfectly crafted novel, he showcases simple, everyday bits and pieces of life. His unique characters are engaging and lovable. The one-scene appearances of minor characters are perfect gems. But it’s Reggie, a priceless, dinky-di Aussie that leaves the reader in stitches with his clever one-liners.

Tiffany is ordinary in appearance and bookish. Her family came to her indirectly after her mother’s death. Reggie, the oldest member is like a grandfather; Bull, is her father figure. When Nell, Reggie’s wife died, the two men coped very well raising a child they adored.

Kayla, Tiffany’s best and only friend, is willowy and stunning. Her home life is also unconventional. Her pregnant, pokie-loving mother lives with a younger man who adores her and her brood. Kayla has to fight the boys off while Tiffany dreams of love that seems never to reach her.

High School is over. With the summer stretched out before them the girls have lots of time to consider their future. Great changes are in store for both of them; all life-changing, some heartbreaking.

Tiffany gets work experience at the local newspaper hoping that this will open doors to a future in journalism. But Gungee Creek doesn’t offer many options, for there is ‘nothing much in Gungee Creek, not even a creek’.

Tiffany’s time at the newspaper is anything but fun. She is plagued with insecurities and nothing and no one is as she had expected. But she is forced through circumstance to see things from a different perspective. She experiences loss once again, but love comes softly when she meets someone as ordinary as herself who sees how extraordinary she really is.

Condon’s characters could be any person with their own life story. This life is often measured by others based on a thin slice of knowledge, when so much more makes up the whole than that slice, for lives are built from stories upon stories upon stories. This is a book about those stories; about humanity, love, loss, grief and growing up. It comes highly recommended.

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