I received this book as part of a book club christmas exchange, but in the end I ended up listening to it on Borrowbox (Richard Glover is the reader, so I recommend it).
Here’s the blurb …
The new book from the bestselling author of Flesh Wounds. A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come. “It was simpler time”. We had more fun back then”. “Everyone could afford a house”. There’s plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like? In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It’s a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing. It’s the Australia of his childhood. The Australia of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Let’s break the news now: they didn’t have avocado. It’s a place of funny clothing and food that was appalling, but amusingly so. It also the land of staggeringly awful attitudes – often enshrined in law – towards anybody who didn’t fit in. The Land Before Avocado will make you laugh and cry, be angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago. Most of all it will make you realise how far we’ve come – and how much further we can go.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s in Australia and I remember much of what he talks about. What I remember distinctly is how mean adults were to children – including parents and grand parents (and no one ever believed the child). Adults felt they could say (and possibly do) anything to children. I remember my neighbour always commenting on my weight. My mother trained my budgie to say ‘[my name] is a nuisance’. I have never thought it was better in the past. This book is both hilarious and sobering; no avocado or alfresco tables, the road toll and treatment of women and children (well anyone that wasn’t a white man).