Too Much Lip, Melissa Lucashenko
Read for our f2f bookclub gathering this month, TOO MUCH LIP was a perfect book for a club like ours - triggering much discussion. For this reader, starting with that line in the blurb:
"The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger."
... it was a really enjoyable reading experience, providing insight, connection, recognition and an opportunity to learn. Delivered with touches of dark and light humour that frequently had me roaring with laughter, and moments that left me breathless with awareness of past cruelties, of lack of understanding and too many things we have been so unwilling to acknowledge or accept for such a long time, and how much we have missed out on because of that.
TOO MUCH LIP is the story of wise-cracking, externally tough as nails, Kerry Salter and her return to the family fold as her Pop lies dying. It's about old family wounds, next generation struggles, and a sense of place that's enviable in the way it wraps identity and belief systems into absolute connection with place, the past and the future. It's about love in unexpected places, acceptance within fractious and complicated families and inter-generational trauma, the amount of damage that colonisation has left in its wake, and the little battles that everybody has on a day to day basis just trying to keep one foot in front of the other.
Told in perfect voices, Kerry and her family are people who are so real you look for them in the room as you're reading about them. It's about a place which is so beautifully depicted you not only see, but feel it. It's a story of survival and pride that made me admire these people so much, with their reality and spirituality, their connection to place, and the creatures that surround them, their ways of looking back for guidance on how to move forward, and their painful but unshrinking confrontation of past abuse.
Somebody told me years ago that you shouldn't finish a review with a declaration of recommendation, that the review itself should imply it, but in case there's any doubt whatsoever TOO MUCH LIP cannot be recommended highly, strongly, persistently enough. On my Australian's mandatory reading list, it's right up towards the very top.
Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.
Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things – her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she’s an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.
Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble – but then trouble is Kerry’s middle name.
Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.