This book had been a top seller when I was working
at Goliath Books in the bookstore. I read Loaded (and saw the movie, because I enjoy adaptations for science) when I was a teenager and I was curious to see how this book that had been so commercially popular related to that short, indie story. I don’t think I’m going to say anything about this book that hasn’t already been said before. The characters are, by and large, unlikeable (I exclude the dear, sweet Richie from that category): they are all on the precipice of change, of that continual process of existing that is becoming and they all (except Richie) back the hell away from that process. I dunno, maybe that’s what I’ll do in 15 years’ time, but with the big three oh! fast approaching I can’t stand the idea of retreating into who I was for the last ten years. That feels like not learning.
But back to the book:
Most of the female characters (except Anouk, who was a total GPOY) revolve around their identity in relation to the men in their lives, whether those men are their husbands or their children, they all seem to exist solely in relation to these figures, as either wife or mother. there were possibly 2 paragraphs (with Anouk) that passed the Bechdel test. The men are just kinda gross. Except Richie. They’re douchebags. When my friends date men like these I tell them to get the hell out of there. Tsiolkas also seems to have some sort of internalised racism that he’s working through. I probably need to read more of his books, but in both Loaded and The Slap the Greek male character are dicks. Misogynistic, racist, arsehats. But hey, I’m not a psychologist, I’m a literary theorist.
All of these things though, even though they pissed me off, they made the book interesting. It was an amazing read and I’m so totally psyched to see the TV series (because I’m a sucker for adaptations, and this book was written for TV). It was also rather comforting to be reading a story about the places I know (and kinda miss) so well: from those North of The River haunts in Northcote and Clifton Hill (Gypsy Hideout, ILY) to the stabification that is Ringwood Station, it was comforting to read about familiar and intimate places where I have my own memories. It made this story more real than it already is.