Saturday 10 March 2012

70. Three Summers by Judith Clarke

Three Summers by Judith Clarke
Published March 2012 Allen & Unwin

From the publisher:

The path of Ruth's life was shaped in one fateful moment when, as a baby, she was tossed clear from a car wreck. Her grandmother raised her, with a fierce hope that she would one day go to university and see every marvellous place in the world. When Ruth and her best friend Fee finish school, Fee chooses motherhood and marriage. Ruth knows that she must leave town, but that means leaving Tam Finn, the elusive yet entrancing boy so unlike any other she has ever met. An extraordinary story of friendship, longing and the saving grace of love.

This books starts in 1960, in rural smalltown Australia. Friends Ruth and Fee are finishing school and are about to embark on the rest of their lives. Fee, happy to marry her high school sweetheart and start a family is worlds away from Ruth, who has won a scholarship to Sydney University. The people in town think Ruth is making a mistake leaving town. Father Joseph thinks Sydney is depraved and full of sinners, other women in still think that an education for a woman is wasted. Ruth's Nan is the one person who always had faith in her and who encourages Ruth to leave despite any misgivings.

Then we have Tam Finn, the local badboy who has supposedly fathered a number of dark haired children in town. Just before she leaves, Ruth has a run in with him. Unlike all of the other girls in town who fall at his feet, Ruth walks away, and she spends the rest of her life with Tam Finn in the back of her mind.

We then jump to 1985, Ruth is in London, married and now divorced, teaching at University. Fee with her family of 5 boys. And still Tam Finn, now the mystery of where he went.
The book ends in 2010, Fee and Ruth are 60, and still friends. Fee still ives in Barinjii and Ruth has taken on a foster child, a teenage girl who strieks a remarkable resemlance to Tam Finn.

This is an odd book for me to write about, as it is a crossover into adult fiction. For many years there was teenage fiction and then adult fiction with nothing bridging the gap.  Now there are more teenage fiction titles that have older teenage characters (18 and 19 years) who are dealing with leaving home, going to university, starting work, serious relationships etc, this is one of those.  This book may not appeal to all teenage readers, but it may be a welcome change for the the more discerning ready who has had enough of vampires, werewolves and the supernatural.

It's a glimpse into two different life journeys and the understanding that one kind of life in no better or worse than the other. There are different kinds of happiness, and we just have to find our own.

Who will like this book: Girls age 16+
Read it if you like:

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