January 22, 2010

Free To A Good Home - Catherine Deveny

Free To A Good Home is a book I picked up while on a trip to Sydney late last year. I had heard of the author before and was aware she wrote a regular column for a major Melbourne newspaper but seeing as though that's in a completely different state to me I had never actually read any of her work before. This book is a collection of some of those newspaper columns focusing on a broad range of issues from TV, feminism, marriage, religion, politics, racism and many more. I also loved the comment/recommendation about the book on the front cover from another Australian journalist, Marieke Hardy; "Provocative, borderline insane, and above all a very, very fine writer". But I was really sold on the book when I opened to a random page and read the start of one of Deveny's columns:

I'm against gay marriage. I'm against straight marriage. I'm against marriage full-stop. Why are we hanging on to this relic of an anachronistic system (which still reeks of misogyny and bigotry), established so men could own women to ensure their estates and titles were passed on to their kids - sorry, their sons?

Even if I don't necessarily agree with all of Deveny's opinions (although I have to say I connected with her on most of them!) I love her raw, honest writing style - this is a women who is not afraid to say what she thinks - and I admire that. She's also very, very funny - laugh out loud kind of funny and it usually takes quite a lot for a book to make me do that.

This book is probably more suited to Australian readers - a lot of what Deveny writes about concentrates specifically on anglo-saxon Australian culture and customs - very funny for those of us living here but maybe not so much for others.

I loved this one - didn't want it to end - I might have to buy a subscription to that Melbourne newspaper...


Rebecca Chapman said...

This sounds really great - I haven't heard of this person before but I will definitely make sure I read it - I try to read as many Australian books as I can and this one sounds different to the usual novel. Thanks for the review

stockdove said...

Oooh, that sounds like a good read! It takes courage for women to write that way and to be so honest and straightforward rather than tiptoe around these issues in a politically correct way. It helps when there's humour in the writing too :) And I have to agree on the exerpt re: marriage :)Thank you, I wouldn't have heard about this author in Canada.

Jodie said...

Well her 'provocative' way of starting off that statement turns me right off listening, even though after she expresses a view I otherwise sympathise with (happy if you want to get married but I definately see the flaws in the process that we all excuse by saying that they're tradition). Ick, why can't she just say she's in favour of single rights/opposed to the marriage ceremony?

Tamara said...

Hi :) This looks like one I would like to borrow one day. I would like to read a little more Australian non fiction, and she sounds like she captured you. I'd also like to LOL! You dont need to get a subscription - just move to Melbourne!

Karen said...

Hi Becky - I hope you track down a copy and enjoy it as much as me!

Hi stockdove - I felt this writing took a lot of courage too (it would for me anyway!) but I so loved the honesty.

Hi Jodie - I can see what you mean. I actually really enjoyed the provocative way in which she writes.

Hi T - that would be a solution! I will bring the book for you when we catch up.