A beautiful Australian Christmas story 22

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roisin-meaney-home-for-christmasWell planned and nicely written, Roisin Meaney’s I’ll Be Home For Christmas flows easily and entertains from cover to cover.

Some books are meant for the reading and Roisin Meaney’s latest offering (her twelfth) is one such page-turner. I received my advance reading copy of I’ll Be Home For Christmas as a ring-bound A4 draft. I read it in three nights and found it thoroughly entertaining. As I mentioned to friends after the first nights’ reading, it isn’t going to be easy to review without spoiling it for subsequent readers (and, following its release in early December there will be many!)

Tilly is a 17-y.o. who lives in Queensland, in a country town three hours outside Brisbane. At age 14, during a school project on family, she spoke to her mother and father about her background. Slightly hesitant, they told her in basic terms that she had been adopted as a baby. Her birth mother was Irish and separated from the father. Now in her second last school year, Tilly locates and meets her mother.

It’s December and Tilly tells her adoptive parents, as a subterfuge, she’s about to fly off to Bali with friends. In fact, she has put together enough money from an after-school job to fly to Ireland, and not just Ireland but a small island off the west coast.

Tilly flies off, carrying a secret.

The book is light reading but covers a wide range of moot subjects. Some of the topics include adoption, family, statutory rape, cancer, mastectomy, death, and miracles, with many another. A lot of questions are raised and some answered.

A couple of points I might make are:

  • I’ll Be Home For Christmas is an ideal book for a discussion group or book club. In essence, there is enough debating material arising from it to last a week of afternoons. I think this its greatest strength and, perhaps, its purpose.
  • In a way (and without being sexist), it’s a pity I am male. This novel is well-planned and nicely written, it flows easily and entertains, maintaining interest in its storyline all the way from cover to cover. As much as I enjoyed it, it may appeal more to women than men. I would like to hear your thoughts in due course.

My thanks to Hachette Australia for getting a bulky item (my ARC draft copy) prepared and mailed across three states in such short time!

I’ll Be Home For Christmas is published by Hachette Australia. It is available to purchase from Dymocks either in paperback or as an eBook.

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John Reid

  1. I used to pretend i WAS adopted. Unfortunately, the crazy family I was living in was my own.

    2 REPLY
    • Funny you say that, I always thought I was adopted. Only blond child in a family of 4 dark haired children and parents. My siblings used to tease me and told me Santa brought me one cold and stormy night😀😀

  2. I was adopted and it has never, was never an issue for me. Was told from day 1 and that Mum and Dad chose me because my mother couldn’t keep me and loved me enough to give me a home with them. I was given my original birth certificate with bio parents names on when I was in mid teens. In my early 30’s I decided to track down birth mother because while I, my sons, my husband, his family all had straight hair my daughter had curls. I wanted to know where they came from. Took 2 years even with original birth cert. Welcomed with open arms by birth mother and her subsequent children and I am now one of the family.Adopted dad met her and they got on well. My adopted mother had already died shortly after I tracked my bio mother. Alls well that ends well. 🙂

    3 REPLY
    • I think if I had been told I really would have accepted it. But when I asked my my adoptive parents they refused to discuss it and they told me that my birth mother had made them swear on a bible that they would never tell me. So different now thankfully.

    • Yes that’s unfortunate. I have heard of many adoptive parents who are terrified of being rejected when their child is told they have been adopted. Some make up the most farfetched and downright cruel stories to “make” their child live them. Very sad. One particular case was of a young lad who was home alone one day when family members who hadn’t been in touch for very many years knocked on the door. Oh, so you are the adopted son they said. He packed his bags, walked out and has never been back. If only his parents had told him from the outset.

    • I was adopted and knew as I was 7yrs when adopted after living in an orphange. After marring we adopted 3 children who al knew right from the start they were specal as we had chosen them-eventually gave birth to 2 children but we have never made any difference between them

  3. Found out I was adopted by mistake 8 weeks before emigrating to Australia for family reunion – I was 38 and devastated. Unless you have been on that position you will never know what it feels like – never. Thanks to a wonderful husband and two gorgeous children I came to terms with it but I know others who have never accepted it

    1 REPLY
    • I would imagine had you not been blind sighted with the news, it would have been much easier to take. I know that it was believed years ago that not telling an adopted child they were adopted was the right thing to do. Most children today are told about it even before they can understand and grow up knowing that it is a natural thing.

  4. As the parents of an adopted little girl we were convinced that she should know the truth as soon as she was able to understand. however to this day we wonder if we hurt her by doing it. As it turned out she is more wondrous than anything we could have made ourselves and despite being a bumbling incompetent father I would not change one second of what she gave us. We have all since met her birth mother and I would like to think that between us we didn’t do to much harm along the way.

  5. It’s an interesting question, are there men’s and women’s books. I think the best appeal to both, though there’s certainly a market for segregated books.

  6. My husband’s nephew and his wife adopted two children from an orphanage in South America. They have beautiful chocolate coloured skin and of course they know they are adopted. They have absolutely wonderful parents and grandparents. They travel all over the world.

  7. I was adopted, and can never remember not knowing…. Mum always said “your brothers came out of my tummy, you came from just above your tummy, in my heart” .. She and dad gave me my original birth certificate, and mum always said she hoped I would one day look for her, and that she would love to meet her. One of my children was ill when young, and question continually asked was “what’s your family’s medical history” .. My mum passed away before I was able to get a trail I could follow (I was adopted in the fifties…… Information was zilch back then!). Finally I did track her down and wrote, but also stressed that if she didn’t want any contact I would understand. I have since met her, and my five siblings…. And it’s been a really wonderful experience. (Now I know where another son’s red hair comes from) My advice though is always to go slowly, and to be prepared for all types of situations… I know that I am one of the very lucky ones where it’s really worked out well.

  8. Being adopted when I was a baby I only know the family history of my adoptive parents.
    It does make things a bit difficult when I can’t give doctors any family medical history.
    But otherwise I am happy to be a true blue Aussie.

  9. I was told aged 5 sitting in the bathroom asking my mother why she had a scar on her tummy.
    She said she couldn’t have a baby I her tummy so she went to a place and picked me out as a special baby.
    Weird. . But from then on I knew I was different or didn’t belong.
    That feeling followed me.
    She was a fabulous woman.
    Very proactive as were her sisters in WW2.
    Dorothy Potter RRC as an example.
    Found sister and bros when I was about 52. Crazy but great.
    Much more since..

  10. My mother came from England and my paternal grandfather came from New Zealand. On my paternal grandmother’s side I am 5 th generation Australian from an English convict and his wife an Irish convict.

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