I got this book as it popped up on my `Recommendations', and there were so many positive reviews I just had to take a punt. And I must say it has been one of the most enjoyable reads for a while. Connell writes with such self deprecating warmth, that Julian Corkle just charms his way into your heart.
Set in seventies and eighties Tasmania, this is the story of growing up `theatrical' in a repressed and repressive society, where being normal is liking `sports', drinking `Tickworth lager', and most definitely not being a `queer'.
Julian starts out quite well in his adventures into his alternative lifestyle in Ulverston, but then his quite unlikeable dad moves the family to Hobart; that is the Capital and you would have thought held much more promise, but alas such promise is pretty elusive. Julian embarks on a number of unsound strategies to get to meet real VIP's and get a leg up into the world of glamour, glitter and showbiz. He also fights a battle with his love of all things edible that are both fattening, and unhealthy, with spectacularly poor results. But his good old mum keeps on telling him he has star quality and the only one of the family with `pizzazz'.
He also charts the family feuds and advice on which public toilets to avoid whilst fighting urges to dress his mum's hair.
This great book had me laughing, and hooked from the first few pages; it became one of those reads that I didn't want to end, a bit like `closing time' when you are having a great time in a pub. So with that simile in mind I want to go right out and get Ms Connell's next one - like staying back for a lock in.