“I had a pokey little pigeon chest with scrawny arms like chicken wings, and legs that resembled two bendy, brown chopsticks.”
There was a glorious time in my life when I used to wake up, jump in the car and listen to the adorable voices of Matt and Alex. I loved those guys so much and only really began to feel old when they surrendered their DJ duties on triple J. I’ve since followed both of them on social media and think back fondly of their daily entertainment. When I saw that Matt had written a book, I jumped straight on to the Booktopia website and ordered up a signed copy.
Just as I loved to hear Matt talk about catching crabs with his Dad ( and of course when his hilarious father would ring in), I was equally enchanted by his literary stylings. The similarities between the author and his protagonist made this an interesting read for me. I imagined Mike as Matt from the way he used to speak on the radio and indeed the book is based upon his stand up show of the same name.
Usually I shy away from novels about parents suffering from Cancer, I always find that a little torturous. Okine, however, delivers such a beautifully nuanced piece of work that, much like life, peaks and troughs so as not to overburden the reader. Humour is all pervasive and perhaps the most effective parts of the tale are the cringe worthy coming of age parts of the story like school boy crushes and various accidents. There are so many themes that will resonate with the child in all of us, the feeling of needing to belong, of being different, of just having to survive childhood, along with those gem like hours where life, friends and love make everything special.
I would thoroughly recommend you get yourself a copy and dive on into the sometimes murky waters of a young boy growing up in the nineties.
5 out of 5, avoid the swamp.