Read by Alex Dimitriades
Bolinda audio (2010)
An oldie but a goodie. I’d watched the series, I’d read other books by Tsiolkas, but I hadn’t thought to read this one until now. I love Tsiolkas’ books. They can be rough and gritty, and even hard to stomach at times, but they make me think. This one would have to be my favourite. I’ve only just finished it and I almost want to listen/read it all over again. Now.
The story evolves from and revolves around the incident of ‘the slap’. Aisha and Hector are holding a barbeque. Family and friends are invited. Rosie, Aisha’s friend from school days, attends with her husband Gary and four year old son Hugo. Their parenting ideas are far different from Hector and Harry’s (Cousins) Greek upbringing. Hugo behaves differently to the other children and no one is impressed. Then Harry, a grown man, slaps Hugo. Friends and family are thrown into a violent hurricane of emotions where loyalties and values are tested.
The book is written from eight different voices. The reader dives into each perspective and is forced to make judgements, connections and inner confessions. No one is as idealistic or true to their beliefs as they make out.
How does Tsiolkas manage to get into so many minds? From Greek grandparents, to teenagers, white Australians with damaged pasts, to an Indian career woman, he nails them all. I am in awe.
The Slap was Christos Tsiolkas’ fourth novel. It won the 2009 Commonwealth Writer’s prize for best novel in South East Asia and South Pacific Area. It was adapted into an Australian Miniseries, and later a US miniseries.
Penguin Random House Australia
Meet Katie at the Beach
Rebecca Johnson & Lucia Masciullo (2020)
Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek
Paul Seden & Brenton McKenna (2020)
Meet Mia by the Jetty
Janeen Brian & Danny Snell (2020)
Meet Eve in the Outback
Raewyn Caisley & Karen Blair (2020)
Say hello to a lovable bunch of kids that come from all parts of Australia. Katie lives in an apartment in Queensland right across from the beach. She spends plenty of time down at the water, catching waves and building castles with her family. Unfortunately, on this particular day she has a very wobbly and sore tooth and a trip to the beach feels a little too much.
Sam and his best mate Peter love to go fishing at the creek up in the Northern Territory. They know all about the tides and the fish. The only problem is, they aren’t really sure how to use their net and Peter brings banana lollies. Sam is sure there’ll be a disaster (Bananas are bad luck on a fishing trip!).
Eve lives in Nowhere in Western Australia and she thinks it’s magical. There are lizards, kangaroos and even camels roaming wild around the bush. Her cousin Will comes to visit and Eve is a little worried that her magical place won’t compare to the dolphins he has back home. The thought of chores during a visit to the neighbour doesn’t sound too appealing to Will either until he experiences the joys of driving across bumping paddocks to visit new born lambs.
Mia lives at Victor Harbour in South Australia. She loves being by the beach and fossicking along the sand. Mia is a little nervous when a boy comes to stay with them, but then decides that being a tour guide can be a lot of fun.
This series of books is a wonderful celebration of the diversity that Australia offers. Each character is proud of who they are and where they live, and their unique stories and experiences are enticing for any reader. The books are pitched for emerging readers aged between five and eight. There are short sentences and short chapters complimented with simple vocabulary and two-colour illustrations. The characters highlight that no matter what surrounds you, there is always something interesting to find and do, a wonderful lesson for the youth of today. The language and voice of each character has been carefully selected to reflect children from different parts of Australia, making this a great set of stories to work through inferring and connections within the classroom.
Children in Year one and two will love the independence of reading these short chapter books while having the opportunity to peek into the lives and homes of different kids.
Good Girl Bad Girl
Michael Robotham 2019
A wild eyed girl is found hiding in a secret room while her tortured captor rots inside the house. She won’t reveal anything about her past, so the courts give her the name Evie. A boy comes home to find his parents and twin sisters murdered by his older brother. He is spared but alone. His name is Cyrus.
This is not what ‘Good Girl Bad Girl’ is all about. Cyrus is now a grown man; a psychologist. He has been assigned Evie’s case to assess whether she is safe to be released into the world. She has an intriguing gift and claims to be an adult, however no birth certificate can be found. Meanwhile he is also investigating the murder of a teenager, a semi ice skating pro, who has been found on the edge of a walking track, covered in branches.
The girls’ stories and histories at first seem completely removed from each other. Michael Robotham expertly plots the seemingly parallel paths until they eventually connect and cross over. The tale is written from two perspectives, Cyrus’ and Evie’s, with a ratio of approximately three to one. This results in a deeper connection and sympathy to Cyrus’ character and build-up of intrigue and fondness for Evie.
The book has won Robotham the CWA Gold Dagger for 2020 and is a number one best seller. Thankfully, he has now released a sequel, ‘When she was good’, that I am dying to read (pun intended).
What's this about?
As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.