I made a strategic reading mistake.
Having finished the Led Zeppelin tome and followed it up with Stewart Copeland’s memoir – and thus feeling at least temporarily bloated with rock’n’roll excess – I thought a nice quiet piece of Australian fiction might be refreshing.
I chose Of a Boy, by Sonya Hartnett.
Thankfully, it’s a short book because I spent most of the time reading it in tears and by the end was sobbing helplessly. It’s beautifully written and utterly devastating.
It’s not that my actual childhood experiences were anything like poor Adrian’s – although a few incidents resonated very uncomfortably – it’s more that the book captured all too well my (largely baseless) childhood fears and anxieties, not all of which I’ve outgrown.
I’m tearing up again now just thinking about it.
So I’ve had to give myself the antidote of reading John Birmingham’s consolingly funny and disgusting “He Died with a Falafel in His Hand” to get back on an even keel.
Risky business, this reading caper.