Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson – Book Review

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 in Race and Ethnicity, Review | 0 comments

Grace Beside Me by Sue McPherson – Book Review

by Stevie Schafer

Grace Beside Me

From the Blurb:

Life is not ordinary for Fuzzy Mac, but it should be. What could possibly be exciting about growing up with her Nan and Pop in a small country town?

Rivalry, romance, Nan’s mysterious premonitions, an encounter with a particularly unusual kind of ghost and the mix of characters who live in this high-country town make Fuzzy’s life far from boring.

This episodic narrative about a girl living with her Nan and Pop is very enjoyable! The characters are brought to life throughout the gently unfolding series of vignettes. I particularly enjoyed the attention to small mannerisms. The dialogues are well written and capture the characters. The narrator’s voice is clear, fresh, and casual. It’s also distinctly Australian, making good use of both Indigenous-Australian and Australian slang.

The book does discuss some really important issues such as the Stolen Generation, Sorry Day, slavery in Australia, racism, immigration, and violence against women.

I usually prefer plot driven narratives, but the characterisations and the vignettes are well done and drive the book quite nicely.

To be honest, I nearly put this book down before I got started. In the first two pages the narrator is desperate to assert herself as heterosexual. The narrator even goes so far as to suggest that female homosexual relationships are defined by what they apparently lack. I was worried that the narrator might unfold as being slightly homophobic, making the book difficult to read. As it turns out, this assertion is not essential as homosexual and other non-heterosexual relationships are not raised again throughout the novel.

4/5 stars.

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This book review was written by Stevie Schafer.

To read another opinion of “Grace Beside Me”, you can find a different review written by Visibility Fiction contributor Danielle Binks at her blog the Alpha Reader.

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