memoir / autobiography
A wide-ranging family story where trauma careens down the ancestral line, manifesting in pain and discord. The Morton men formed a rural dynasty that was at one time, land the size of Belgium. They also shared a destructive and brutal approach to family life with siblings goaded into competing with one another by terrifying patriarchs. By the time Rick’s older brother was badly burned in an accident, the scene was set for the family’s disintegration. Its an honest, painful and unsentimental story of the harm people can cause one another by intention and by accident. Rick’s mother raised the two boys alone and on a pittance, and one of the things explored in the book is the effect of grinding poverty and how oblivious a privileged person can be. Its not a bitter book in the slightest though, and what I really liked is the love and pride and high regard Rick has for his mum. It feels as though it is a healing book, and I learned a lot.
Melbourne University Press 2018