This is a terrific memoir, filled with guts and atmosphere that lets you live through the experiences of Maxine, a black girl growing up in a very white middle class suburb of Sydney in the 1980s.
In recalling her daily diet of racism, which materialises in so many forms, from toys and bike races to a myriad of stereotyped expectations, the reader comes to grips with discrimination and how it grows and expands like a cancer in a community.
The way children can deliberately hurt each other, the way responsible adults are neglectful in their duty, the way parents try to handle a struggle they are working through themselves, it is all there painting a detailed picture of a world we often ignore or hope does not exist. And yet it does, and here, as our author Maxine agonisingly recalls all the slights and put downs, you can see the multiplier effect, the build-up over years as it hits a crescendo and you wonder if she will survive.
It is a great read, totally engrossing yet cleverly subtle and often funny. Her descriptions put you right in the frame and I could feel myself squirming, wanting to fight back for her and to scream at the people who so nonchalantly belittled her. Read this and understand more about how we communicate as humans, figure out for yourself what is needed to put things right. Give the book to your teenage children, they’ll get it too.