For all of us who had an unusual family upbringing… 30

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Flesh Wounds - HARPER COLLINS - 9780733334320Richard Glover is a well-known media personality with his programmes on ABC radio and his columns in the Fairfax press.

This memoir Flesh Wounds presents the man behind the relaxed and witty person we know from the media; a man with a mother who invented her past and an often absent father. In the book, Richard Glover is coming to terms with his conception and his unusual upbringing. His mother ran off with his English teacher and his devastated father often left him alone for long periods. When his father was present, he was often very drunk. One of his father’s friends, Steve Stephens, stepped in to provide the nurturing he needed. For the first three years of his life in New Guinea, it was his nurse Danota.

I found this a very sad book, although it is not without the trademark Glover humour.  I found it sad because of the vulnerability Richard Glover was willing to share.

But, the book is also inspiring.

I think the main point Glover is making is that while many have inadequate childhoods, we do not turn out insane, self-harming or miserable. We find the love we need elsewhere. Richard Glover found that love with Debra Oswald, herself a noted Australian writer, and the family they established with their sons Dan and Joe.  Debra’s parents are also part of that supportive love.

Glover’s favourite dinner party game is: Who has the weirdest parents? And as life goes on he has found he doesn’t always win.

The book also challenges the stereotypes of Australian life with the downtrodden little woman and unfeeling male. Those who have read Glover’s columns will be used to this view.

Flesh Wounds is an interesting title. While wounds from our past hurt, they are only superficial. However, what really wounds are the wounds from ‘flesh and blood’. Both are true.

I think people over sixty would enjoy this reflection on family life. We have experienced and seen enough to know the past does not have to dictate the present, but we know the past, quite often, takes some getting over.

This is a book that I can recommend for enjoyment and reflection.

Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover is available now from Dymocks.

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Vivienne Beddoe

  1. This book was the subject of our Book Club last month. I bought my copy through Audible which was narrated by Richard himself. I found this a great way to enjoy his personal thoughts and feelings, especially when mimicking his mother’s highbrow accent. Everyone at the book club thought it an excellent read.

  2. The book is excellent and Richard,s literary lunch was so good. I marvel that such a well-loved personality could have had such a bizarre childhood! Resilience plus! X

  3. One of the most beautiful spirits I know was born in the worst of circumstances and their early life would make a horror story. Their whole attitude is that’s then, I am now.

  4. I enjoyed the book,could not put it down,

    1 REPLY
    • I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a copy too, Gwenda. I must see if it is available here. Most things seem to be available. I don’t know of the author, but would be interested in the story anyway.

  5. Yes I read the book it was great made me realise I’m not the only one who didn’t have a perfect childhood

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