My Big Birkett by Lisa Shanahan

Older Readers Shortlist – Read
The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It as it is known in some parts is the final book from my challenge to read the Older Readers section of the CBCA.
There are many parts of this book I truly appreciated. The author describes the feeling of the final night of performance beautifully:

“After the curtain fell on the final scene, I had that same feeling I get on Christmas night; fierce joy, stabbing regret and an intense longing to do it all again, folded together like nuts, raisins and glace cherries in a fruitcake.”(p281)

I have seen young performers experience this many times and I think Lisa Shanahan captures the experience of being in a school musical or play very well in this novel. Like “Don’t Call Me Ishmael” she makes lots of great references to classical literature of Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest”.
My Big Birkett is a multi faceted story that has heart wrenching moments. It illustrates the family of notorious troublemakers, that are the part of most communities, in a compassionate way. I love this paragraph also that is how I feel so many times:

“One of the things that scares me most is the feeling I’m going to drown in the flow of other lives. You can be celebrating because your sister’s given birth to a healthy baby or you’ve won lotto or the lump in your knee isn’t cancer after all, and yet, across town someone is devastated because their grandma died, or they failed an important test or they have no food. Sometimes when I think about these competing lives, even in my own town, let alone the whole world, I feel too tired to move.”(p290)
My Choice
I found this book a lot like “One Whole and Perfect Day”, an excellent read. My choice from this section would be one of the red books.