I couldn’t resist a coming-of-age story about footy and my home town, Melbourne (not to mention the fact that it’s Australian Literature Month, hosted by Reading Matters) – so I picked up Eleven Seasons by Paul D. Carter.
“Melbourne, 1985. Jason Dalton sits on his bed and counts his football cards, dreaming of the day he too is immortalized in the public eye. He’s young and gifted, a natural player who can do anything with the ball in his hand. If only everything else in his life was as obvious to him as playing. Gold Coast, 1991. The bottom has fallen out of Jason’s life; he’s now a high-school dropout, tired and wasted on the Gold Coast, with an explosive family secret still ringing in his ears. He needs to get his life back. But first he needs to find out who he is.”
The aspect of this book that appealed to me most was the setting – Melbourne in the eighties and early nineties (despite the blurb above, it’s not about Brisbane). More specifically, Eleven Seasons is set in the suburbs where I grew up (and where I still live) – references to Victoria Park in Hawthorn, Burnley train station, the Fun Factory in South Yarra and a crumby student flat opposite the cemetery in Carlton could have all been scenes lifted from my life.
“They park on Drummond Street, half a kilometre from Princes Park, in what Dean calls ‘the secret spot’ – a disused parking bay behind housing commission flats.” (every footy fan has a ‘secret parking spot’) Continue reading