Tag Archives: Rape

The Edge of Limits – Susanne Gervay

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Flying Elephant Media

November 2022

ISBN: 9780648203551

RRP: $15.99

Susanne Gervay is no stranger to tackling difficult topics in her books and this one, is possibly one of the trickiest to navigate and pull off successfully, with the utmost sensitivity and awareness for the audience. The topic of consent, consensual relationships, toxic masculinity and the explosion of the #MeToo movement in the past few years validates the need for such books to put in the hands of our young people as educators, and indeed as citizens. One has only to read the plethora media reports of the unceasing incidences of these behaviours to know this truth.

Sam is 17, a caring and compassionate young man, who has been raised by his single mum and his grandfather. His finely tuned moral compass and the example of wholesome male role models, he owes to his grandpa for whom he is grieving. The loss of his grandpa has really affected him and even without that, the upcoming school ‘camp’ feels him with dread.

Not so much a camp as an eight-day ordeal, forced to endure with boys he considers to be almost savages, particularly after recently witnessing a sexual assault on a teen girl at a recent rave party. Sam knows the boys involved but has no idea how to handle his knowledge and, for sure, feels he can’t do anything while trapped in close quarters with some of these young thugs.

Throughout the arduous trekking with its abseiling, extremes of temperature, deprivations, bullying and intense physical challenges, Sam does his best to sort through his responses to both the assault, his own feelings about his girlfriend and the loss of his grandfather. Calling upon her son’s input to create as authentic a character, voice and situations as possible, Susanne’s novel is both intense and gripping. Sam’s dilemma and the dread of other boys when faced with the violence of the bullies is palpable and disturbing, creating within the reader a visceral reaction which leads to a righteous indignation and the need for justice.

It’s not a long novel but it is potent and, in my opinion, should be compulsory reading for secondary students both boys and girls [for heaven’s sake English teachers, can you start ditching some of those fossilised ‘classics’ especially the ones with now inappropriate terminology that you have to keep bleeping out!].

I am certainly giving it my highest recommendation and urge you to put it on your shelves, sell it to your admin if not as an English novel then reading for whatever your school calls it personal development sessions. Thank you Susanne for your determination to bring this to the forefront of teen consciousness.

The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle – Sophie Green

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9780733641169

Hachette

JUL 23, 2019 | 9780733641169 | RRP $29.99

 

If you missed The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club which was a runaway success a couple of years ago you must make certain not to neglect this new novel from Sophie Green!

Once again readers become heavily invested in the lives of the main characters; Marie, Theresa, Elaine and Leanne, as they form a strong bond of supportive friendship. Each of these women are facing their own challenges and when they unexpectedly meet up on Shelly Beach for a dawn swim they gradually and tentatively begin to connect despite their differing ages and circumstances.

Marie still mourns the loss of her husband five years previously and more so since her oldest friend moved away to a retirement village. With her terrier Charlie Brown her only real companion she often finds herself falling into melancholy. But she’s swum every morning almost her whole life and is determined to keep it up.

Then there is Theresa, young mother of two lively children, married to an insensitive, lazy and philandering husband. Despite the support of her Nonna who lives with them, Theresa is struggling to keep her emotions under control as her marriage disintegrates.

Elaine has recently migrated to Shelly Beach with her Australian-born surgeon husband leaving two grown up sons behind in England, as well as her own successful business. Essentially she is grieving for her past life and is resistant to embracing the new one on offer. Her solace becomes habitual and increasing gin and tonics until she reaches a crisis point.

The youngest of the group is quiet reserved Leanne who is hiding a dark secret which has left her emotionally scarred and wary of everyone, particularly men.

Each has their own personal reason for the early morning swim but soon discovers that in numbers, especially a close circle of women friends, is strength. That strength becomes even more important when each of them face significant changes in their lives.

Again this is a marvellous reflection of the impact our own personal circles have on our mental and physical wellbeing. Like its predecessor it is an insightful exploration of the power of friendship, trust and genuine love.

I highly recommend it to you and if you should be looking for a title for a book club this would be a perfect fit.