The good: So funny and so Australian!
The not-so-good: Poor Joe, I quite liked him.
Why I chose it: It sounded like a really fun read – thanks Allen & Unwin for the copy to prove this is true!
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Setting: Rockhampton, Australia; London and Japan
Rating: 9 out of 10
Girl in Between by Anna Daniels is a love letter to many – to Australia, with its love of the Queensland landscape; to Aussie English and all its colloquialisms and to those who find themselves wondering where everything is all going. With its easily likeable heroine Lucy, this is a super fun read that crosses several countries but knows that home is where the heart is.
Lucy is in her early thirties and not quite sure how she got there. She was doing pretty well in her career until she decided to follow her ex to Queensland. Now she’s back home in Rockhampton, living with two older flatmates (i.e. her parents), totally broke and writing a novel accompanied by her fur baby Glenda. Lucy isn’t sure where to go or what to do next. Is she a writer or better suited to being, say, a vet? Is there life after her ex and could it come in the form of the son of the lady next door? There are too many questions for Lucy to event ponder at the moment. Lucky for her that best friend Rosie is there to inject some fun into her life, with random nights out in Rocky and encouraging her to spread her wings again. Can Lucy transition into some semblance of an adult and make up her mind on love and work?
Girl in Between is a fun, occasionally madcap read. I haven’t been to Rockhampton (although I really want to go now), so I can’t say if all the quirky shop names are true and if there really is a matchstick production line in town. (The importance of this will make sense when you read the book). Lucy’s parents are fun, nailing the Aussie slang along with Rosie. Lucy’s mum is into everything, plus she is never short of a Cher quote when things get tough. Lucy’s dad is a slightly quieter character (the typical Aussie bloke) but never short of wise (and Cher-less) advice. Rosie was my favourite character though. She’s a dentist, but take everything you think of related to dentists and Rosie is the opposite. Rosie hates working full time, is an avid devourer of home gadgets catalogues and really likes to cut loose. She’s really quirky and I think even in the dentist’s chair, the conversation wouldn’t be boring.
Lucy tells her story in the first person, so we get to know her from the inside out, privy to her thoughts, feelings and indecision. She is indecisive, but it was never in an irritating way. Plus, it was really pleasing to see her grow as the story went on. I think Anna Daniels has constructed her in a very realistic way – we can all relate to Lucy, even though we secretly want to be fancy free like Rosie!
The ending was a little out there, but it wasn’t outside the realms of possibility. (Anyway, it’s fiction. Where else can you take a few liberties?) It was fitting to the story and it was sweet.
If you enjoyed The Castle, you’ll love the Aussie-ness of Girl in Between. It’s a light, amusing read that will remind you of all the great Aussie things in life.