'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Review: Brontide

To highlight Indigenous Literacy Day, #ILD, I couldn't go past Indigenous author Sue McPherson's latest novel, Brontide. Just 132 pages long, it's a short read that packs a punch!

Sue's coming-of-age story is a fictional yet realistic account of four teenage boys' lives in Taralune, on the Sunshine Coast. Rob, Pen and Jack are white Aussies and Benny Boy is Aboriginal. Sue beautifully portrays their storytelling in a simple interview-style narrative that reveals an underlay of depth and characterisation.

Told through a series of interviews with the boys aged 15-17, who are all interconnected in some way, each boy's narrative bends and weaves and the story comes together as a result of their sum storytelling. Their insights give the reader a glimpse into their diverse backgrounds, families, after-school activities and occasionally, dysfunctional home lives.
The boys' personalities vary considerably and they range from opinionated, observant, analytical, sometimes verbally inappropriate, creative, macho and caring. Living in a small town, everyone knows everyone's business, and the boys are open and candid about not only their own lives, but what they observe around them.

The boys recount their stories with humour, eagerness, and their interactions with Sue are enjoyable, sometimes funny and poignant. I was totally immersed in each boy's story and just when I was hoping for more, something unexpected happened which made me think about this story long after the last page.

There's a clear and responsible reference to peer-group pressure, male roles, risk-taking behaviour, blended and adoptive families, spirituality and small-town life.
Brontide is the perfect blend of coming-of-age, diversity, teen spirit and Aussie small town culture. The Aboriginal cultural references are beautifully illustrated and weaved into the storyline organically, thus adding dimension and depth to the narrative. Brontide should be in every school library.

Title: Brontide
Author: Sue McPherson
Publisher: Magabala Books, $14.99
Publication Date: 1 June 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925360929
For ages: 13+
Type: Young Adult Fiction