‘Clancy of the Undertow’ by Christopher Currie

So my friend Kirsti reviewed ‘Clancy of the Undertow’ a while ago but said, it was fairly Australian and she wasn’t sure how that would fare outside of Australia. I was still very curious about the book but filed it away for later. Imagine my surprise when I browsed Netgalley to find a “read this now without having to jump through a millionty hoops” button so I clicked it and excitedly began to read my ARC.

Source: Goodreads
Source: Goodreads

Clancy is a unique character, she lives in this deadbeat town with her parents, one older and one younger brother. Then her father is involved in a roadside accident and the whole town thinks it’s his fault so they start treating the entire family like criminals and murderers. And in the midst of all of that, Clancy has a ginormous crush on the town’s pretty girl.

I couldn’t put the story down because it was written so well and because there actually was story. Multiple threads of story to be precise. There’s quite a lot going on which is good and it made this book not be one about being gay. Clancy happens to be gay but that’s not the premise of the book and I want more books like that.

Clancy’s parents aren’t that well off and struggle through life which felt rather familiar to me. She doesn’t live the great lifestyle which just made this story feel more authentic in my opinion. It’s not all roses and sunshine all the time but, guess what, so is real life.

I really enjoyed getting to know Nancy and her mother and part of me wished, the two had been in the story more. Especially Nancy, I wanted to know more about her background and why she was bullied back at her old school.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will definitely go into my rotation of recommendations. Part of that is because it’s Australian and just like with everything else, the literary market is so full of American books, it’s great to promote those from other countries, especially when they’re as well written as this one. Plus, the cover and title are just gorgeous. Seriously, can you have a crush on a book title because I think I do. Also, also, as a German reader, I may not have gotten every reference but I don’t get them all in American books either so I didn’t even register that. Maybe this is more of an issue for Americans who are used to reading mostly books set in their own country. That’s not the case for me though.

At the end, I sat on my bed after finishing the book, hugging my kindle because I needed to keep the book close to my heart for just a little while longer.

‘Points of Departure’ by Emily O’Beirne

This book found me at the right time. I read ‘Points of Departure’ by Emily O’Beirne while being on vacation and I actually read most of it while sitting at the airport in Trondheim, Norway, because I got their stupidly early. But it was very fitting since this is a travel story of five Australian women right out of high school.

Source: Goodreads

Originally the five girls had planned to go on a Europe trip together after graduation and the group was supposed to be held together by Kit, their common denominator. Only, Kit ends up not being able to come on the trip and so the other four have to make due. And it’s awkward at first because they want different things out of this trip; things that don’t always go hand in hand. And then two of the girls start hooking up with one another which doesn’t make anything easier.

I’ve done a version of this trip in the way that I went to Canada in 2012 with one friend and another friend of hers. Of course I knew my friend since we met studying abroad but I had only met her friend once but nevertheless we embarked upon our 8 hour flight and became fast friends. Four years later we still dream about going on vacation together again. It was one of my most favourite travel experiences. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I could relate to this story so much. It made me nostalgic to the point I messaged my former travelbuddyfriends immediately after finishing the book to tell them how much I missed our adventures together.

Another bonus of this book, it is mostly set in Europe and while I’ve been to some of their destinations, I haven’t been to them all but they still felt more familiar than most stories set in North America feel.

I did have my problems with the writing style at times. The story is told in alternating points of view and then in third person. It felt a bit odd to me and I can’t quite explain why. Also, I would have liked if the story would have focussed a bit more on the actual traveling. It is a heavily character driven story and not so much about the adventure/travel.

Of course my favourite character was Liza. She’s a runner who wants to quit competing and who recently came out to her parents. I felt right at home with Liza and Olivia’s characters.

All in all though, I enjoyed this book immensely even if it wasn’t as Australian as I’m used to through the Every series by Ellie Marney. I’m not sure if O’Beirne toned down the Aussie-isms for the mass market or not but I kind of missed it. What I forgot to mention is the diversity, at least two of the main characters have mixed raced parents and then of course there is the whole lesbianing thing which is how I got to this book in the first place.

‘No Country For Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy

I finally finished No Country for Old Men and only because I’m currently on vacation and made myself finish it. It’s just, the story isn’t for me, not at all and I took five months off from actually finishing it which is pretty bad even for me.

Source: Goodreads

By the end I didn’t give a damn about the story anymore and I just kept on reading, partially not even registering what I was reading but I’m okay with that. I guess people usually gripe with the format it is written in as McCarthy doesn’t use punctuation for direct speech and also doesn’t use these apostrophes in don’t and won’t and that sort. Surprisingly though, that didn’t bother me. It’s something my head can easily work around and the southern accent this is written in, well, my brain just corrected the grammar while reading and it didn’t bother me too much.

The story itself though. Oy. It starts with Moss finding a lot of cash after a drug deal he wasn’t in went south. He takes the money and the starts a manhunt that spans most of the book as there are several groups after him and the money.

The points of view change in the chapters and it was sometimes difficult for me to remember which character this was supposed to be. Plus most of it is just shooting, running away and hiding. I didn’t find anything remarkable or interesting about this story. To me it felt like such a guy book and not in a good way. I also don’t see what this book was supposed to tell me as I’m sure it’s one of those that’s supposed to leave you thinking or learning something new. Whoops. Didn’t work for me.

Also, I somehow thought this was a book published at least in the 80s or even older but it was written and released in 2005. Another whoops.

In total, this didn’t work for me at all and I’m glad it is finally over and I can move on to more enjoyable reads.