Thursday 14 November 2019

My Folks Grew Up in the '80s

My Folks Grew Up in the '80s by Beck and Robin Feiner (ABC Books) HB RRP $24.99 ISBN 9780733339417

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath

Any parent who grew up in the 1980s will open this book with a sense of anticipatory glee. In fact, it feels like parents are the target audience of this book; at the very least, there’s a big wink in their direction. Nevertheless, kids will love the opportunity to share their parents’ stories of growing up in that strange decade.

The prose is written from the point of view of a child whose 30 or 40-something parents have been telling him stories of their childhood, and the tone conveys the narrator’s amusement and incredulity. The book covers topics from fashion and technology to music and slang. There are the typical references from that decade, like shoulder pads and boom boxes, but also some things parents probably haven’t thought about for some time. Anyone remember the TV show Perfect Match?

Splashed with neon colours, the bold, graphic illustrations provide layers detail and context, not just explaining but also enriching the text. Children and parents will have fun exploring the objects scattered across each spread, from hard-copy encyclopedias to floppy discs, slinkies and troll dolls.

A nostalgic walk down memory lane for parents, and an amusing pop cultural history for kids, this book will be a wonderful sharing experience for kids aged 7-plus and their parents. As the book’s final page points out (illustrated by the narrator’s parents executing a certain iconic Dirty Dancing pose in the backyard pool), the kids will finally understand why we’re so weird.

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