i’ve never been in a book club (i was too busy with uni when they were all the rage.. there was *one* bookclub meeting that I went to, but that ended up being a book swap and red wine binging session!), and its been a long time since I’ve written a book review. And, when I was reading this book I didn’t expect to be writing about it (or liking it for that matter)…
all those disclaimers aside, I thought I might share with you what I’ve been reading during my commute back and forth from work each day. This is pretty much the only quality reading time I get, so if I end up reading it on the weekend or in the evening, that’s usually because I’m pretty hooked. I didn’t expect to get hooked on this book, but I finished it on Saturday evening on the couch at home, so there you go. I did like it. A lot.
I read this book on the recommendation of my friend Melissa. She’s one of the people I go to when I’m looking for a new book to read. She’s good at recommending good books. I’d never have read this one without her.
I wonder whether Melissa picked up this book more readily because she’s a Kiwi and not an Australian. I went through my ‘Peter Carey phase’ in my late teens. I fell utterly in love with
So, when Pete published The True History of the Kelly Gang it didn’t really register on my radar. Afterall, I knew the story of the Kelly Gang (i even saw the movie!). Sure, Ned Kelly was a kind of interesting guy… for a bushranger. *snore*
Having reached the end of this book, its as though there are now two Ned Kellys – the pre-book version, who is a rough and gruff charicature, and the post-book version, who is multi-dimensioned and whose story is much longer and much more complex that I had ever expected (and I thought I knew the story!).
Now, I don’t know (and I haven’t investigated) how much of Carey’s story is based on historical documents and how much of it is completely fictional. To be honest, that doesn’t really make much difference to me – I like his version of the story. Before this version I never knew that there was a bushranger called Harry Power, nor that Ned was apprenticed to him in his early teens (by his mother!). I never knew that Ned Kelly fell in love and that he apparently had a daughter (I’m not giving away the ending here, obviously, this book is written ‘to’ his daughter). Lots and lots of the stories that I thought I knew were given much richer dimensions in Carey’s version of events. Come the end of the book, I really felt as though I’d gotten to know this character – and he was a character that I genuinely liked and respected, and that I felt such great sadness for. Eh. Its almost enough to bring a girl to tears, I tell you.
So, there you go. A rather ‘light’ review I know, but – if you’re take on the Kelly Gang is anything like mine was, its definitely worth a read. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot and it touched me in a way that many other books I’ve read lately have failed to do.
Thumbs up! :)
Next: I’m currently reading
At standard bus-pace you’ll need to give me a couple of weeks to get back to you. Having said that, I’m about 12 pages in and its going well so far. (I’m biased tho’.