Interesting title, right? That’s what caught my attention when I picked this book up. It helped ,ofcourse, that this was a coming of age story. I am a big sucker for those.
This award winning book by the Australian writer Nick Earls is funny and refreshing. The focus of the book is Dan , an average Australian teenager, and his last year in school which he spends away from his parents and instead with his very young aunt and her roommate -Naomi. Dan faces all the typical dilemmas ( and this brought back memories from my last years in school) – trouble with Calculues, a completely inappropriate crush , dealing with an overprotective parent and difficult family secrets.
The story begins with Dan accompanying his aunt Jacq, to her apartment, which will be his home for the year while his parents are in Geneva. He is on his own and initally struggles to fit in with the typically collegiate lifestyle that Jacq and her roommate have. His unexpected crush on Naomi also adds to his level of discomfort.
What’s interesting are Dan’s attempts to fit in and to seem cool and more mature to impress Namoi. On a picnic lunch in the university gardens, Naomi notices that the trees have been labelled with their scientific names, and mentions that it would be pretty impressive for someone to know them. It’s this that instigates Dan to become an expert in something that would seem intelligent but believable – bird watching.It is during studying the art of bird watching does he learn that birds are named using several versions of brown – 48 in all 🙂
These shades of brown become representative of the types of people and problems in the book.
There is no plot per say..but the book moves at an even pace and is definitely funny. Nick Earls uses metaphors and symbolism heavily and it takes a while to figure out deeper meanings. I truly enjoyed reading this and would recommend it .