Back To Oz
review by Maryom
When he was 9, Niall Griffiths' parents decided to emigrate to Australia with the 10 pound scheme. They stayed for only 3 years, first settling in Brisbane, then relocating to Perth on the opposite coast, travelling across country by car.
30 years later Niall Griffiths decided to recreate this experience. First re-visiting the places his family lived in and around Brisbane, then driving to Perth.
Part autobiography, part travelogue, Ten Pound Pom compares Griffiths' memories of the past with the modern Australia he discovers in the present.
Lots of things have changed but have they improved?
Most of us know Australia solely from TV and films - so is it all Neighbours and Picnic At Hanging Rock? Australia through Niall Griffiths' eyes is certainly not the place I thought it was. Muriel's Wedding with its grubby politics and 'fit in or else' attitude is the closest I've seen on the screen. Instead of a happy-go-lucky surfer culture there are warnings that speed can kill, signs prohibiting smoking, the wearing of flipflops or singlets. Instead of the alien beauty of Walkabout, there's mile upon mile, hundreds of miles, of dull desert road. In between the restrictions and monotony, though, are the memories of the child he was and the things that delighted him- the beach huts on Coochie Mudloe island, a flock of lorikeets perching on his arms and head, sleeping overnight in a hollow tree and just maybe catching sight of a platypus.
Ten Pound Pom is an enjoyable, immensely readable, highly entertaining look at Australia, its people and their lifestyle, whether Griffiths is laughing at them, say the continuing chauvinism of the average Ozzie bloke or raising serious moral issues such as the treatment of the native population.
It's a book that will make you laugh, may make you cry, but I don't think it will encourage you to visit Australia! I wonder what Australians will make of it?
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Parthian
Genre - adult, travel, biography
Buy Ten Pound Pom from Amazon