My Brother Jack, winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1964, tells the semi autobiographical story of the character David Meredith, interspersed with references to the life of his brother Jack. The book follows the life of a boy growing up in a working class suburb in Melbourne between World War 1 and World War 2. The backdrop for the story is the impact of World War 1, the Depression, and towards the end of the book, World War 2, when David, the main character, becomes a war correspondent.
We follow David through his school years, early working life including dabbling in an artistic career before his interest in writing is recognised and he pursues a career in journalism.
Johnston presents David as a self-doubting, almost unreliable character, given many opportunities to become ‘the golden boy’, when compared to the reliable and confident character of Jack even through all his setbacks Jack experiences.
Jack knows his way, while David dabbles in art, writing, marriage and suburban life before his extensive travelling overseas.
My Brother Jack was written while Johnston was living a creative and expatriate life on the Greek Island of Hydra from where he used the book to question many social norms and beliefs that were present within Australian culture at the time.
The book was well received by the group, and appeared to be an enjoyable read, and in many cases re-read by group members.
Ratings: Pauline 4, Margie 4.5, Dianne 4, Viv 4.5, Jenny 4.5, Nicola 4, Sandy 4, Janet 4, Kim 4.5.
Our next meeting will be at Preece House on 8/02/21 at 6:30PM to discuss Exploded View by Carrie Tiffany. Hope to see you all there and happy reading!
We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.
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