Nonfiction November – Book Pairings

It’s Nonfiction November, this week hosted by Doing Dewey. The task? Pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title.

Relationships that play out at the local swimming pool –  The Memory Pool by Therese Spruhan and Monkey Grip by Helen Garner.

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Lapsed by Monica Dux

I have no religious education or upbringing (a reflection of the fact that my parents did, and as adults, they wanted none of it). Yet, as a child of the seventies, Christian traditions were an unquestioned part of the school curriculum, and as a result, we had a nativity play to finish the primary school year. In Prep, I was chosen to be Mary. I had one line; the kid playing Joseph said it, and furious, I stole his lines after that. From memory, it kind of changed the tone of things.

I refer to this story because Monica Dux opens Lapsed, her memoir about growing up Catholic, with her recollections of being given the part of Jesus in her school’s Easter play.

My selection was an honour made even greater by the fact that in the past, the coveted role of JC had always gone to a Grade Sixer, while I was in Grade Five. As a child with a strong sense of her own manifest destiny, this seemed quite unremarkable to me. Continue reading

Novellas in November

Novellas in November is hosted by Cathy of 746 Books and Rebecca of Bookish Beck.

Cathy and Rebecca have set a category for each week – there are no rules as such (although they suggest that 150–200 pages is the upper limit for a novella, and post-1980 as a definition of ‘contemporary’).

I’m going to use Novellas in November to whip through some of my towering TBR stack. I have lots to choose from. Here are the possibilities: Continue reading

The Mother Wound by Amani Haydar

Amani Haydar suffered the unimaginable when she lost her mother in a brutal act of domestic violence perpetrated by her father. Haydar was five months pregnant at the time, and her own perception of how she wanted to mother (and how she had been mothered) was shaped by the murder. In The Mother Wound, Haydar reflects on her parents’ marriage, her family’s history, and the social and cultural context in which she grew up.

We couldn’t call it ‘the night Mum died’ because she didn’t just drop dead. All of the available words betrayed reality.

What was most striking about this memoir, was Haydar’s clear account of her childhood, when she ‘…hadn’t yet found the language of abuse…’ but understood her parents’ relationship was bound by cultural, religious and personal complexities that she didn’t fully understand –

It is hard to spot a red flag in a man who is simply doing what everyone else is doing. Continue reading