A Few Random Thoughts

Jan 20 2011
A Few Random Thoughts

It has been a bloody long time since I have reviewed a book -July 1969 in my second attempt at passing English 3 was probably the last time.

Anyway, the following are a few random thoughts.

There is a wonderful juxtaposition both of the personalities of Jobby (Jennifer Mary O'Brien) and Stu and of their respective views of the world, and your choice of the two voices structure of the novel.

Despite being a male, I share many similar personality traits with Jobby so I can relate easily to her and her perceptions.

The tone and analogies by which Stu lives are positively scary. They mark a controlling personality that is to be feared in contemporary western society. But sadly I believe there are many potential Stu's out there.

The language of the novel is very approachable, dare I say, reader-friendly, which makes it easy to read. This is no psycho-analytical treatise but a carefully crafted story of the slow disintegration and collapse of a well-intentioned marriage to steal the words from the back cover of the book.

There were times however, especially as I neared the end of
Jobby's story, that I experienced a sense of fear about reading
further. It was the fear of knowing that the increasing build-up of events would lead to real tragedy. On reflection I found myself not approving of her fast accelerating relationship with Tom, despite knowing why she was heading down that road. Not that I approved of any of Stu's behaviours towards her.

It would have been very easy to target a younger age group in looking at the relationship, thereby challenging their experience and wisdom. But picking a couple in their mid to late 40's makes the outcome all the sadder.
I've not been to Ireland but can only assume that the background you have painted to the events of the novel is credible.
Not that he would have been up to such violence but every now and again I thought of Oirish who I worked with when I first went to Sydney in late 73 or early 74. To save money I had a brief sojourn at the house that Oirish and his wife and two kids, rented in North Bondi. This was before the era of the Celtic Tiger so Oirish had no hot water in the house and despite donning a suit and climbing into a PI Mini every day, he was closer to my perception of a lad from a Dublin pub. He'd wheel and deal to recover what he'd lost on the ponies or at cards the day before and drink too much Kilkenny or Jamesons so the problems would go away. Suffice to say I think Oirish went back to Ireland.
In summary, Graeme and Elsie Johnstone have crafted an excellent novel.

From Michael Vandekalen