Sunday Territorian 20 Jul 2014
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42 REVIEW SUNDAY JULY 20 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 COURIERMAIL.COM.AU SATURDAY JULY 19 2014 CANVAS 19 V1 - BCME01Z01CV As an eight-year-old, Sonia StClare wouldclimb into a steellocker to escapethe beatings handed out by the nuns at the Catholic orphanage where she had been dumped with her twin sister Sarah. It gives St Clare, now a grandmother living on the Gold Coast, a title for her memoir, The Girl in the Locker, but it was by no means the worst punishment or horror she faced in her early life. For the first 14 years, Sonia and Sarah were shunted between five orphanages where they suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. It is harrowing reading and an insight into the long-term devastation of abuse in adulthood the girls stumbled from one abusive relationship to another. For the first 41 years of my life I suffered traumatic amnesia and so I could not remember a lot of the details, St Clare says. But once the memories started flooding back ... because it was so brutal, I remembered all of it and I was reliving it over and over. Writing about the sexual abuse and also the death of my sister were the hardest times. St Clare says reaction to the book has been varied. People are affected differently, she says. One friend read my book in two days and said she couldnt put it down. This woman has known me for 20 years and she never had a clue. She is still shaking her head that I am still standing upright and am so positive. Another friend read it in stages because she just cant cope with everything that happened to me. It was all too much. Her children, though, wont be reading it. I dont really want them to know the details of what happened to me, she says. If they want to read it they can, but they dont need the brutal details of what happened because it will traumatise them as well. St Clare doesnt believe The Girl in the Locker would have been published without the current royal commission into child sexual abuse. The royal commission has given us permission to speak up, be heard and, finally, the most important thing, to be believed, she says. I am sure part of the publication of my book is because of the royal commission. Yet St Clare says she doesnt want readers to become overwhelmed by the tragedy. I dont want them to get caught up in the sadness and tragedy of it all, (only) the forgiveness at the end and how I have found peace and healing, she says. If my story can help anyone to find that for themselves, then that was worth going down memory lane. She is now considering becoming a motivational speaker. It doesnt matter what you have been through in life there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Neil Gaiman has a mind that spirals and catapults and creates the most fantastical worlds, so its fitting that his biography more of a midlife retrospective should be bursting with life, ideas and illustrations. Author Hayley Campbell has interviewed Gaiman about every comic, novel, short story, radio play, TV script and screenplay that hes ever created and his stories about how his stories evolved are as entertaining as his books. He reveals that his most autobiographical character is the boy in The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was published last year. Campbell, one of his BFFs, also collated a bounty of photographs, manuscripts, letters and associated visual paraphernalia to make this a coffee-table book that fans will pore over. There are lots of gothic sketches and comic book excerpts. The pics of Neil as a young punk are priceless. Verdict: Fascinating insight BIOGRAPHY THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN HAYLEY CAMPBELL, ILEX, $49.95 Reviewer: Blanche Clark Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is one of those policemen who just doesnt follow the rules. After being busted down to uniform, Thorne is back in detective ranks, but his latest task rings every alarm bell within hearing. He has to shepherd an old foe serial killer Stuart Nicklin to a remote wild island off the coast of Wales in the UK after Nicklin announces he will show police where another of his victims is buried. With police and forensic colleagues in tow, Tom warily heads into the Wales wilderness. This British thriller keeps you on edge, knowing that there has to be a dramatic denouement. The Bones Beneath is the sequel to Billinghams Scaredy Cat, where Thorne first encountered the most heinous murderer, Nicklin. This is a tortuous tale of a manipulative and evil man. Thornes team, who are also there to search for a missing boy pop band, are fearful that there will be more victims found. This is a popular crime series by Billingham and this instalment mostly works fine as a standalone novel. Verdict: Taut FICTION THE BONES BENEATH MARK BILLINGHAM, HACHETTE, $30 Reviewer: Corinna Hente Psychologist Deborah Gold has been murdered in the most horrible way. Her mutilated body is found on a cross on the outskirts of a Texas town and it is obvious from the outset more than one person has been involved in the crime. Detective Jim Beaudry Bonham is assigned to the case and quickly decides this isnt a random killing. Bonham, known as Biscuit or Bis, has a chequered past, including being suspected of killing his first girlfriend, Kat. Hes a policeman now, so we know he was cleared of that crime, right? In the process of tracking down Dr Golds killer, or killers, Bonham uncovers her sordid life of drugs, sex, child-abuse and blackmail and the motives for her murder. He also finds the answer to the question that has haunted him all his adult life: What happened to Kat? Wright sprinkles flashbacks throughout the main story but they all seem to fit perfectly. This dark, at times scary, book is about as far from light reading as you can get. One reviewer compared it with To Kill a Mockingbird. I wouldnt go that far. Verdict: Haunting FICTION BLACKBIRD TOM WRIGHT, CANONGATE $30 Reviewer: Barry Dick BOOKS TOP 5 CHART SOURCES: NIELSEN BOOKSCAN, BRISBANES BETTER BOOKSHOPS, BESTSELLERS FOR AMAZONS KINDLE AND ITUNES THE GIRL IN THE LOCKER New Holland $26.95 THE KEY TO A NEW LIFE Amid the background of the royal commission into child sexual abuse is a Gold Coast womans painful memoirs of institutionalised torture at the hands of Catholic nuns, writes Michelle Collins INDEPENDENT 1. Life of I Anne Manne 2. Lost & Found Brooke Davis 3. All The Birds Singing Evie Wyld 4. Funemployed Justin Heazlewood 5. Gravity Mary Delahunty AUDIOBOOKS 1. You Become What You Think About Vic Johnson 2. Effortless Small Talk Andy Arnott 3. Habit Stacking S.J. Scott 4. The Gruffalo Julia Donaldson 5. The Book of Life Deborah Harkness BESTSELLERS 1. The Fault in Our Stars John Green 2. Minecraft: The Official Redstone Handbook Egmont 3. The Fault in Our Stars (film tie-in) John Green 4. Minecraft: The Official Beginners Handbook Egmont 5. Minecraft: The Official Combat Handbook Egmont LIBRARIES 1. Top Secret Twenty-One Janet Evanovich 2. Analogue Men Nick Earls 3. The Tournament Matthew Reilly 4. The Target David Baldacci 5. The Skin Collector Jeffery Deaver EBOOKS 1. Rain Girl Gabi Kreslehner 2. Inamorata Megan Chance 3. The Empty Quarter David L. Robbins 4. The Book of Life Deborah Harkness 5. The Fault in Our Stars John Green Author Jenny Valentish has written a novel based on Australia's music scene called Cherry Bomb Picture: NICOLE CLEARY Valentish has credentials for rock chick story TAKE a shard of Courtney Loves trainwreck exhibitionism, a portion of The Veronicas schoolgirl poutiness and a sliver of Patti Smiths effrontery and you get a sense of singer/guitarist Nina Dall. Shes the teenage narrator of Jenny Valentishs rockchick novel, Cherry Bomb. The books title comes from the 1976 debut single of US girl band The Runaways but, as Valentish says, Ninas also a bit of a bomb waiting to go off. The novel follows the meteoric, and turbulent, rise to fame of Nina and her cousin Rose, from the ages of 17 to 21, as pop-rock duo The Dolls. Valentish, 39, has drawn on her own experience in bands and many years working as a music journalist to create the novel that Australian musician Paul Kelly describes on the cover as scathing, funny, true. As a 16-year-old living in the English town of Slough, Valentish longed to be part of the action in London and started writing fanzines. She was a fan of girl bands such as Babes in Toyland, L7 and Hole that grew out of the feminist punk rock movement. It was a fertile time for very opinionated women with guitars, Valentish says. She predicts a bit of a 90s comeback for female musicians, and Courtney Loves solo tour of Australia in August may be a case in point. Nina models herself to a degree on her aunt, Alannah Dall a once glamorous pop star of the 1980s who has fallen on hard times and unfortunately shares her aunts addiction. Booze, my muse, Nina says at one point. Short extracts from Alannahs book Pour Me Another an amusing parody of a rock stars autobiography open each chapter of Cherry Bomb. Valentish says she made Ninas home-base Sydneys Parramatta because it reminded her of Slough, which she left in favour of Londons music scene. She was in two bands in her late teens and early 20s, but when she was told to change her jeans for a short skirt she felt her talents might be appreciated elsewhere. She worked as a crime-fiction junior editor and wrote porn for adult magazines for two years a skill that helped her with scenes in Cherry Bomb. Her time as features editor for Guitar and Bass magazine also fed into the book. I interviewed all the grisly old rock stars for that, which Ive channelled into the Bitumen band a little bit, Valentish says. After marrying an Australian, Valentish came to Australia in 1996 and stayed after the marriage ended for a different kind of love. She has worked at Ralph and Triple J magazines and is now editor of Time Out. But even with so much writing experience, she didnt know anything about writing a novel and used M.J. Hyland and Sara Fosters editorial consultancy firms to fast-track her progress. She wrote the book over a year, during her twice-daily commute to work in the city from her home in Castlemaine. Every observation Id ever made about the music industry seemed to flood out, she says. It was an unusual experience almost like a year-long hypnosis. Jenny Valentish is rocking our world right now with a novel that channels 90s girl power through a teenager hellbent on emulating her music idols, writes BLANCHE CLARK CHERRY BOMB By Jenny Valentish Allen & Unwin, $30
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