Reading Reflection: ‘Mr Mac & Me’ by Esther Freud

It’s a lovely book about friendship, life during the war, life in small communities and artistry. Reknowned Artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh moves to the beautiful coastal village of Dunwich and develops an unlikely friendship with the young local Thomas Maggs who has a small disability – a twisted leg – but posseses a great ambition for sea fairing adventures. 

The only dominating difference between Thomas and Mr Mac lies in their age, besides that, they have so much more in common which naturally united them. The book has a first person narration, told from the point of view of young Thomas Maggs. It takes place in 1914 during the great world war in the village of Dunwhich on the English coast of Suffolk. It’s a fishing community and Thomas is from a family who has lost a great number of its men at sea. They were the sort of brave sea men who were naturally drawn out into the sea – it was in their blood – and it is that natural inclination that took them to their early grave. 

Thomas has brothers who never survived, they died early due to illness and the only ones to survive were his 2 sisters. He was the only boy to make it and the youngest in the family too. Being the only surviving boy child, both the parents especially the mother became determined to keep him alive, to have Thomas outlive them unlike the other 3 brothers. They forbade him from going out into the sea and tried to extinguish any interest – which naturally ran in his blood towards – towards sea fairing activities. However that yearning to be out in the sea roared within him like the sound of waves hitting on the reef.

Charles Renneie Mackintosh is a real iconic artist and this book provides a fictional narrative on his brief stay in the village of Dunwich which I assume produced some of his greatest work. He grew up with the natural interest and inclination towards the art however this was greatly shunned upon by his father who insisted on a more economically practical career path. Luckily he came upon the field of Architecture which balanced his artistic enthusiasm and the promise of financial stability. He melted into the field of architecture naturally, the money came and he was touted as a great talent, his works were of great success. However as a young artist taken under an agency, he was wasn’t given the credit that he rightfully deserved for his art. He was unfairly treated and a single act of defying the big bosses had him cast out and he struggled to find work. Plus his art was sort of unconventional and revolutionary for that era, so as you can imagine it was not easily accepted by everybody and there was always tough resistance present. However there was a niche market who were appreciative of it. I have to mention that his wife was an artist too, a great artist and together they moved to Dunwich and worked on separate passion projects. 

Life was hard for people and behind these hardships were a lot of factors, some referenced mildly in this book. There was poor health care and a significant number of people died due to this and the most vulnerable being young children. The young men were going out to war leaving behind heartbroken mother’s, wives and girlfriend also those men who were left behind felt disheartened and resorted to drinking developing a drinking problem resulting in battered wives and battered families. 

Life was difficult for both the characters. Thomas had an abusive father and they were struggling to get by and their business of running the Inn was not doing well in that time of war, they struggled to pay the rent and make ends meet. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was having a hard time financially too, he was actually painting to make ends meet. Also he was strongly plagued by the strong feelings of injustice he felt he had been dealt being an architect. 

They had there own unique set of suffering but what was very similar about them was their ambition and there yearning to realize it. They were both ambitious individuals and had a flair for art. The least of their troubles was what the difficulties that arose from the war but their concern had more to do with their personal dreams and all that stood in their way against. 

What I loved about the book was the description of both Mr and Mrs Macs commitment and focus to their work. They moved to Dunwich for the beautiful scenery and the variety of flowers that grows there. So Mr Mac would go out, pick out a flower and make a real life impression of it. He was focussed. They even built a shed to carry out their work and hold all their artwork. So when they are in there they are in the zone – just going for it with an intense focus. 

Thomas often visited them and they encouraged him to also paint. Thomas drew about what he was most passionate about – he drew the Ship that he wanted to be a crew on. He did draw other things too like a girl he had a crush on. He had a fondness for the couple. The couple garnered curiousity of the locals and young Thomas slowly unfolds the mystery in the book. I also liked the book mostly for the work that people were engaged in like the Highland girls who come down to gut fish; how skilled and graceful they were in carrying out the task, Thomas’s  mum who stoically managed the household and the inn despite having an abusive husband. 

Books about rural life appeals to me and I especially like it when it’s described in careful details. I feel that rural life is the soul of any country and you haven’t trully visited a place if you haven’t visited it’s rural places or country side. All in all I think that this book was okay, it requires patience. It’s not of high action and there are no great twists. It’s not exciting but mellow and it does feel like how life would be beside the sea. Life is influenced by the sea breeze and it dominates the pace of everything. The pace of life being like how the story in this book unfolded, very slowly yet beautifully. So yes, that’s my reading experience while reading this book, sorry if it may lack much enthusiasm but then this book does not create any room for that and I didn’t find it memorable. I wasn’t sad that the book had ended but I am proud to have had the patience to finish it. 


Moved by Khaled Houseini’s Novels 

Books or any medium of information we consume has to be impactful; information and inspiration has to be channelled into positive actions that should create positive outcomes in our life and in the world around us. At that point of realisation last year I have just devoted myself to reading 2 books by Khaled Houseini. So I sat down and thought deeply about what I found inspirational while reading those 2 books – his 1st book ‘The Kite Runner’ and his 2nd book ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ – keeping in mind that I have to channel some of those inspiration into action. 

The thing is, yes I was inspired from here and there during the course of reading them but I was consumed with the pleasure of reading that after completing the books I had to make some extra effort. I really enjoyed them and its weird saying that because they are books about people having to endure life with so much pain, suffering and profound sadness. Probably a more appropriate thing to say is that I was moved by it. 

To be honest – and this is to some extent selfish – it felt comforting having to feel peoples pain greater then mine, as it made me feel less of my own miseriesIn those 2 book you can’t help but fall in love with the characters despite their flaws and misgivings which is very human. For instance in ‘The Kite Runner’ I found myself criticizing and ridiculing Hassan as being selfish and just too needy. But then as I read on I discovered that their were bits and pieces that I related to and eventually I forgave him because you see most of the time its complicated, we can’t really go ahead and put a simple label on someone as there are so many facets to an individual to be considered.

Despite his books being based in his homeland Afghanistan the stories he tells is not about the war but it is about the ordinary people who are living through such unimaginable extraordinary circumstances, yet despite having all that darkness and despair surrounding them their is still that glimmer of the universal light of hope within them; “And I dream that someday you will return to Kabul to revisit the land of our childhood. If you do, you will find an old faithful friend waiting for you,” Hassan writes in a letter to Amir. That quote really made my heart ache. In his 2nd book ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ he shows how strong the human spirit is, that it is able to go on even in the most extreme and painful of circumstances just like how Mariam endured all throughout her life, from being an unwanted child, to being married to a very violent and abusive man, the miscarriages and eventually the sad end to her life.

Is he my favourite writer? He is definitely in that list of my favourite writer, but I haven’t gotten to the point of labelling someone as my most favourite writer and I don’t know if I ever would because I think every writer has a different way of writing which makes them unique. I love Khaled Hosseini’s very visual and emotional way of writing. He takes us on a journey with the characters through his description of their deepest thoughts and feelings and with a very vivid description of the surroundings. Oh and its also remarkable how Khaled Hosseini understands his female characters to the detail in his 2nd book – he decodes movements, mannerisms and actions and explains the feelings and emotions attached to it. Quite remarkable for a male writer to be able to do that, don’t you think?

I often get inspired by subtle things and I transform them into my own context. In both the books I was inspired by how people treated their religious practices so diligently without failing. They would do their prayers every single day as it is required of them and daily it meant waking up early in the morning. They were fully committed to it so I was intrigued by that unwavering commitment and devotion. So for me it inspired me to do things that are required of me even when it its not within the range of comfort. It supports my bid to be consistent and to be single minded when it comes to attending to tasks of great importance. Also in the process to be selfless and to focus on the bigger purpose.

In The Kite Runner; I was really inspired by Baba and how hard-working he was. How he would go ahead and achieve the impossible and always proving naysayers wrong. “But despite Baba’s successes, people were always doubting him. They told Baba that running a business wasn’t in his blood and he should study law like his father. So Baba proved them all wrong by not only running his own business but becoming one of the richest merchants in Kabul.”  He was a hard working man and even when they moved to America he never wanted to accept those food stamps handout saying “I work always. In Afghanistan I work, in America I work. Thank you very much…but I don’t like free money.” I am inspired by Baba’s great example. When in doubt I shall think to myself what Baba would do and I know what Baba always does, he goes head to head with the challenge and come out victorious pounding his big broad chest.

I was also inspired by Hassan and Mariam’s selfless sacrifices. They were very brave individuals and they showed great bravery, also protecting the people that they loved. Like how Hassan would take on a group of bullies in order to protect his friend Amir. Hassan also had this unwavering loyalty towards Amir and I found it a bit stupid that he would do so much for Amir who I felt to some extent did not deserve it, but then its one thing I realized like I have mentioned earlier – the complexity of people. Mariam, dear Mariam lived such a solemn life from the time she was born a ‘Harami’ or unwanted child to her death. She had regrets, she was betrayed, she was looked down upon, she was unhappy and was violently abused and mistreated and you think that she would escape and find some freedom and happiness in her life – she didn’t. She is one of those people who never found that happiness but it is the little happiness that she managed to grasp from Laila and her kids that she felt proud and content enough to make the ultimate sacrifice that led to her end amongst spectators in a Pavilion during the half time of a soccer match. Nobody saving anybody, no heroes, no 11th hour intervention, it was just the end but she felt at peace because she was “.. a woman who had loved and had been loved back,” and it “..was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate beginnings.” Always we hear the story of people who escape, who gets saved or who survive an ordeal but we never hear the stories of people who never get to see the light or breathe the fresh air. The truth is that these stories exist in abundance however we choose not to hear them because we all hope for the best ending which is good but nevertheless what this stories should teach us and definitely it has taught me is to be more grateful for the simple things in life because some are not privileged to experience such simple pleasures.

With all that I have learned from the 2 books I am going to be making a list of actionable goals. I want to be as silly as possible with those list and I am not sure if I feel comfortable to put it out here in the blog. Well don’t you make notes on your private notebook and dont want others to see them for fear of being laughed at. Well that’s exactly how I feel about my list. So I’ll just keep them to myself. But I have immensely enjoyed reading these books, it was a new sort of material that I wouldn’t have read before but now that I have read them I feel a sense of maturity. I believe that it’s when we try new things out of our comfort zones that we really get to mature. On that note let’s always keep in mind the children of war torn nations, where there is “.. a lot of children … but little childhood.” For them lets pray for a better world.

This post was originally posted last year in my old blog

Book reflection: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton 

Reading should always retain its pleasure therefore I feel that writing down my thoughts on books that I have just finished reading, shouldn’t be such a chore, not too showy or carefully planned and instead be authentic. As important as this challenge is – to reflect on every book I read this year by writing down the experience of reading it on this blog – I have made it a point of removing any sense of urgency or pressure on myself before writing and while writing. It should be laid back and enjoyable. I intend to write my thoughts down freely, as best as I can without aspiring to some form of success or general approval. 
“The House of Mirth” by Edith Wharton is one of the first American classic novel that I have ever read and I am really excited for the many more to come like the works of Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Twain. In the first half of ‘The House of Mirth”, I have to admit finding the language a bit of a challenge. The sentences were complex; there were just so many things happening in one sentence. However once I got the hook of the language, I gripped on tightly to the storyline and all of a sudden I was comfortably riding through the story.

Despite the complex and foreign language I found this book to be an elegantly written book. I enjoyed the storyline, it’s depth, the conversations between characters and very importantly for the honest telling of Miss Lilly Barts’s fate. Her slow yet painful demise that was preconditioned especially being born to wealth and then stripped away of it. The story documents her strugle to establish her place in the world, alone, after the very loss of wealth she was born into with its teachings and its comforts – takes away her parents dignity and inevitably their lives too. 

A Beautiful & Restless Young Woman

This is a book based on the life of a young woman who is strikingly beautiful and intelligent. People admired greatly for her beauty and the charming Mr Lawrence Selden once called her a lovely “spectacle” to watch. 

There was this huge ball that happened and she happened to be one of the star performers and everyone, both men and women stood in awe of her in the dress she wore which accentuated her figure well. She could probably be the Marilyn Monroe of those days. Everyone was in awe of her. 

Lilly was of an age where she is young enough to remain comfortably unmarried for awhile but a bit old enough to start hearing the sound of the clock ticking through constant questions from those around her on her marital status and plans. Lilly being aware of the great power of her beauty, skillfully tries to use it to her advantage. So she set out at the begining of the book with a great iintention of marrying a rich man in order to restore wealth back into her life and elevate her social standing. 

Keeping up with the affluent people and their lifestyle

 Being born into a wealthy family, strong ideologies about wealth were firmly instilled within her by her mother. Her mother loathed poverty and dinginess that she tried her best  to avoid less fortunate relatives who were living such contented lives. She would sneer at the food that they eat and that was presented to them on their visit, the cutleries that they used and all that is lacking in the upkeeping of their houses. 

The most important thing that Lilly has been taught to grip firmly to is material wealth, so when her father over a lunch confesses that they were going to loose it all, one can imagine the great shame, disgust, anxiety and pain that engulfed them. Being critically dependent on wealth, having associations with people who are all wealthy, there appeared to be no way out but a viciously consuming death by heartbreak. 

When her parents both died soon afterwards, Lilly was left with no inheritance at all and she was taken in by her Aunt – Mrs Peniston – a widow living alone with considerable fortune at her disposal. 

A social life is very important for any young woman, they have to stay engaged and keep up social appearances. Lilly has a circle of friends who are all from established affluent families. Most of them are happily married to richer husbands and they spend their days going on expensive trips, splurging on dresses, jewellery and entertaining at large country houses. 

Lilly kept herself busy by attending to invitations from friends. She was given allowance by her Aunt but the sum couldn’t keep up with her expenses. One of the games that they played during those large outings with friends was Bridge. In case you are not familiar with it, Bridge is a game where you play cards for money; you play your cards right and you win money, else you loose money. 

On one such Bridge game Lilly lost a lot of money leaving her in a very fragile and desperate state. The book talks about her financial struggle detail and its remarkable how she was able to keep it together and maintain appearances during times of great obscurity. It also led her to taking financial help from an unhappy husband of one of her friends which was her biggest mistake. She became dependent on her friends – without her friends knowing of course – and she relied on their generosity. 

Fragile reputation of an un-wed young woman

In any society, image is very important to a young woman. One should carefully maintain it, until like a flower it catches a suitable eye and is cut from the field and into a proper home as a decoration – as is the case of the world that Lilly Bart exists in. Women after marriage act as highly decorated piece of art and spend their days entertaining and they are highly industrious and organised in running a very active social life. 

Society often creates lofty ideals and restrictive social standards that makes it hard for people and this is especially true in the case of women. I believe that this may stem from people’s need to be distinct and elevated above everyone else, a marked difference needs to exist or else it will be easier for all of us to be equal. Hard to maintain and unfair ideals are created so that people who do get to achieve them are exulted and marked out as distinct and superior and those who falter in achieving it, are immediately rebuked and cast out of the circle. 

Lilly Bart being beautiful and smart made men naturally gravitate towards her but it was a scandal involving unwanted interaction and attention from few men that she wasn’t able to succesfully marry someone suitable. Eventhough those claims against her were untrue, she couldn’t justify herself because she was an independent young woman, defenseless and obscure. 

Boys, Men and the one Gentleman 

There were only 2 eligible bachelor’s that came into Lilly’s life; the rich yet boring heir to a large fortune Mr Percy Gryce and the extremely charming yet of a simple fortune Mr Lawrence Selden. 

The other suitors came into her life by circumstances and were all out to get something out of Lilly’s natural wealth and her obscure situation. She didnt like them much but out of courtesy she had to entertain them and they were all men of considerable fortune. There were 3 of them to be exact. There was Mr Rosedale; the Jewish businessman who was consistently rising up the social ladder and needed Lilly to seal his standing in society. Then there was the 2 unhappily married men who depended greatly on Lilly’s attention and craved her affection. It was with the 2 married men that things went wrong eventhough nothing really happened between. 

The thing is nothing happened with all the men hence the accusations being unfounded. In the book, generally, there was a lot of intimate conversation, very colourful and passionate however it didn’t relate to physical intimacy, not even a kiss. 

The mention of sex or the thought of it was far off. The other ladies in the book had affairs but the way it was packaged and presented in the book is some elegant and passionate interaction between an older woman with a young impressionable man and enjoying each others company by reading poems and the young men were potrayed as something like a Chiuwawa being toted around without any detailed explanation of what’s going on. 

Defeated: The Painful Fall from Grace

As she was taught Lilly loathed a dingy lifestyle however to avoid it herself she would have to get married. Single women such as characters Getrude Farish and Grace Stepney often live very solitary lifestyles in small apartments. They were uninvited into occasions and gatherings of the affluent social circles eventhough they are related to those in it. They weren’t included, and it’s not because people disliked them but simply because they were insignificant and irrelevant. Money is everything, without it, one is nothing and it could be very difficult for a single woman without a significant inherited fortune. Lilly’s fear was that she would become one of them and it would have been avoided if it was not for scandal with a few men and the altercation with the unfaithful and richly married Mrs Dorset. 

It was Getrude Farish who was poor yet had a huge heart that took her in and cared for her when all her friends abandoned her. But things only seemed to worsen for, she tries to adjust but her predicament, atleast what she thought it to be, grew larger by the day and the shadows eventually consumed her. She was a gold fish not conditioned to live in the natural wild world. 

I felt really bad by the end of the book, it felt so real to me and as we read more about Lilly we feel more endeared towards her. She was simply a lost soul fighting her way alone in that cold world that she existed in. Lawrence Selden was the love of her life and they were 2 equals who finally realised each others importance yet it was too late. It had a tragic ending. It was a good read and I suggest you pick it up, read it and let me know what you think about it or if you have read it feel free to let me know how you found it. 

‘Elegance of the Hedgehog’ by Muriel Burbery

I finished reading ‘ The Elegance of The Hedgehog’ by Muriel Burbery this afternoon. It was a very dense yet beautiful book in its own special way. The story revolves around a high class Parisian Apartment Building; 7 Rue De Granelle, where all the rich Parisian families live. Well that’s where the 2 characters live and they observe and reflect on the world from there, the book actually documents the deep thoughts of the 2 narrator’s. The 1st narrator is the 54 year old Concierge at 7 Rue De Granelle – Renee, and the second narrator is 12 year old Paloma Jose who is contemplating suicide and is living out her last few days thinking and writing down profound thoughts about the ‘movement of the world’ in her journal.

They are both very intelligent individuals and are also both struggling, fighting some internal demons uniquely their own. They are both reclusive, they spend a lot of their time immersed in inteligent personal engagements like reading of watching culturally significant and thought provoking movies. Their tastes in literature, music, movies and other media is very refined and thus their minds compared to everybody around them is very refined and elevated. However due to their reclusive nature, nobody recognizes their elevated mind and also nobody would pay attention because they are busy with their own ‘monotonous’ lives.

Renee or Maddame Michele strugles with the very defined sense of class that exists. She is of a lower class, she accepts that she is very unattractive, she is poor, lonely and a widow. She works very hard to conceal her intelligence for fear of being judged and also coming out as suspicious by the rich residents of 7 Rue De Granelle. So throughout the book we see her accepting her fate and living through it and then some turn of events changes that for her. This is where ‘The Secret’ comes in, whatever thoughts you put out into the Universe, you end up receiving. 

Paloma Jose, the 12 year old strugles with her family. Her sister is very pretentious and irritating, she is highly dramatic with a serious case of OCD. Her father is a government minister and her mother an educated woman however complicated and depressed. She spends most of her time visiting the Psychiatrist and tending to her houseplants. She loaths them and thinks that all they do is very futile.

These 2 main narrators really had some deep thoughts and when I say deep I mean ‘ Can you keep up’ deep sort of thoughts. It’s basically them juggling and meditating on life. One event is dissected from different angles and a variety of emotions comes and goes as we do when we are deeply thinking of something. It’s basically like their journal and like how a journal is written; it’s a series of thoughts reckless thrown into paper in the natural exact order that it happens and we validate those thoughts by backing it up with words and ideas of other great thinkers, artists and leaders who’s point of view we respect and are influenced by. That’s what happened in this book and it was difficult to keep up with, at times frustrating – like I was thinking to myself, ‘ Oh just get out of your seats and run outside for awhile, it might do you some good.’

I learnt that if you feel like an island of your own  in terms of your interests areas, you should reach out and try to find others who have similar tastes as you. You can do that through Social Media. It’s always a good thing to find others who we can have very engaging and stimulating conversations with. I became more interested in reading Tolstoys – Anna Karenina after reading this book. I know how significant it is in the world of literature but I havent read it. But I have watched the movie and I loved it, I love the great underlying theme in it and I related to it. Renee talks about Levin in the book, how he was running his scythe in the wheat fields under the hot sun and his hand was strained and it ached and all that discomfort vanished after having repeated the task for awhile. For me that was significant, it highlighted that after discomfort is endured for quite awhile, we can find a little bit of peace and serenity. Or we can become as fluid and have that elegant essence of a river. Also this book renewed my love for Cats and Japan. Like I wanna learn about Japan, the culture, the places, the people, the art and the history. It brough my childhood Japan fascination back. I am also even planing on having myself a gold fish and a Bonsai tree like I always dreamed of having. 

This book shows that we should never judge people by their occupation or how they live. People can be more complicated then they seem to be. It also taugt ne that it is very important for us to hold our fort of intelligence and passion even when we are in the most unlikely of places that may seem like it’s not conducive for that sort of thinking, that passion or that interest to grow. It’s all in the mind, our life is majority of the time determined by our ‘state of mind’, so what’s very crucial is that we control, grow and preserve that state of mind. You are worth it, I am worth it, we are all worth it. 

Thanks for reading ☺

‘A Fortunate Life’ by A.B Facey 

I loved this book, it is a humble book of great substance. The writers cool narrative voice makes it a positive and a feel good book despite the many adversities he encountered in his life accounted for in this book. After reading the book I will say that indeed the author had a very fortunate life but it had nothing to do with a fortunate upbringing, quite the opposite as he was born to a life of hardship in the blistering and ravaging outback Australia back in the settlers days. So it had nothing to do with being born to great wealth, achieving material success or attaining high position in society. It was his positive attitude, resilience, honesty and hardwork that kept him standing firm on the ground through all adversities that he had to endure in his life.

This is a book I feel that one must read when you need inspiration on how to turn the negatives into positive, or the times when we are feeling less greatful for things around us, or maybe if we need assuarance that indeed it is not that easy but its not that bad either. Also if you are contemplating starting a new life in the country side (or even if you are just visiting your relatives in the country) then you should consider reading this book as it will make your life there much more bearable and interesting. 

I live in the country – sort of – here in Fiji, which is an added reason why I loved this book so much. During dinner times I would enthusiastically talk about all that I read in the book and suggest ways to improve how we look after the livestock and our crops. Also mainly the discussion is based on what is possible with honest hard work. We have a lot of farmers here in Fiji but just not many are working smart  and thinking outside the box, like – ‘this is how it is now but then we can do something new, much more efficient and better’. Farmers here also accept their fate and sometimes just give up during hard times whereas farmers like Mr Facey always kept on renewing their efforts and moving forward. The man is a really talented one. Everything he did, he succeeded at. He turned straw into gold – metaphorically obviously – and that’s how his life was. Making the good out of the bad, keeping on moving forward.

The writing style. I don’t think it’s important to critically analyse the style of writing in a book too much. Nor can I do that because I am not a professional book critic and I never took English and Literature as a major in University. I feel that every writer has a unique style and when reading somebodys work, the first few chapters should be about trying to adapt ourselves to it, getting the hang of it – so we can just enjoy the ride comfortably. Reading a book is like going on this special adventure, the begining is often difficult and all about learning new things and adjusting. Within the journey it is life with all it’s strength, vigor and colour. The end  of the adventure make us start realising, lessons and the feeling of that tangy ‘departure pangs.’  That’s how you know it’s a good book and we keep it in our memories. The great thing about a book is that you can always start the adventure over again. 

This book is a classic memoir and it is the authors account of his entire life – an interesting life it was. It began with his father dying, his mother living for the city with his 2 older brothers for work. She only took with her the ones who could make money. She was a bit obsessed with money and abandoned the young ones including Mr Facey – who couldn’t earn money – with their grandparents. How can a person be so heartless and such a user as she was, and a mother too at that – I don’t know. She used her own children for gaining money. She was a lover of money, apparently that’s the only thing that mattered to her.

The grandparents nevertheless were great people. At an age where they should have been taking it slow, only taking care of each other, they had to take in their grandchildren and worry about putting food on the table for them. They didn’t complain though, they loved their grandchildren and did the best for them. They were a hardworking couple and obviously very resilient. Times was not easy and they had to do a lot of physical work and odd jobs to make ends meet. Life got harder, and grandfather dies, but life kept on moving forward with the strength of the great woman, his grandmother was. She was a good hearted woman and very strong. She represented all the great loving mother’s of the world who keep in forging forward, putting their loved ones first and creating a comfortable home. 

They all moved to his Aunty’s (Mr Faceys Mothers sister) house which became home for the family permanently. During those days a lot of people were starting out life in Australia and incentives were given for people to work the land. People had to start from scratch, building a home, gathering livestock and planting crops. It was in the good old days of physical labour. Mr Facey from an early age had to work. He started living with other families as their ‘boy’ and had to work for them.

Living and working for other people was difficult – as is always the case. Mr Facey had a hard time in the begining and had some scarring experiences but it also built his character up. He was naturally a good, honest and hardworking person and that I believe sustained him all through out his adult life. He encountered bad people who were out to prey on his young inexperienced life but then there were also the good people and their act of kindness and generosity – really filled my heart with warmth. Mr Facey from a young age worked a lot of odd jobs and he consistently worked hard all through those jobs

I learned a lot interesting things, like outback life and it inspired me the level of orgnization and hardwork that was involved in building a life in the outback. I loved the story about droving – transporting 1000+ cattles from 1 corner of the country into the other – and how the whole thing is carried out. 

I also learnt important lessons like how we should not tolerate being mistreated for so long. If we feel that something is wrong than indeed something is wrong. First strike, second strike, third strike and you leave. Don’t wait for when you are scarred for life and then you limp off to safety. 

I also learnt about the interesting affair that was the war. Things other human beings had to put themselves through and how it didn’t make sense the whole thing, why did people have to go and die, fighting in a foreign country. So many productive and youthful life wasted in battle. It fascinated me the gallantry displayed by the soldiers, the bravery and the compassion that they extended to one another. I was born many years after this great wars and I grew up in a country sheltered from this human disasters so the war has always been a foreign concept to me. I associated the cruelty and horrific events that heroes endured to be only things that occurs in movies but not in real life. With this book I realized how very real it was and that it did happen and people had to go through such things and I have deep admiration and respect for them now after reading this book. I am even interested in learning more about the war, read books on how the war was like from other people who have been through it.

I really liked Mr Faceys general attitude towards life and I learnt that we should accept life in it’s full package, embracing all the challenges and problems that comes with it. A true measure of a person is how they push forth, hacking their way through all the adversaties of life. I also realized why one should never burn bridges but instead try to be kind to everybody because you never know when you might be in desperate need of the same person’s help and that person just might pull us out. As human being we are interconnected and very dependent on one another, so we need to humbly accept that and spread goodwill towards everyone. 

Another very important lesson is that when you need something, you have to go out and actively look for it. Whether it is looking for a job, seeking inspiration for your latest project, looking for start up capital- whatever it is; seek and you shall find. That’s what Mr Facey did well in his life and that’s why he was fortunate because he went out and seeked a fortunate life. 

I really liked this book and I am glad I stuck with reading it completely because it did add value to my life. I could go on and on about it. Every now and then I still make references to things I read in the book as my supporting fact or an interesting fact to note during discussions with my family and friends. I
t’s really bitter sweet having to end the book and I just realized how much I love reading. I am such an amateur in writing reviews and even reading but I keep in trying and so far it’s been so good.