Just when I thought I was getting the hang of this parenting biz (if that’s even possible),
bam! Here comes baby #2. Yes, Dad Words will soon surely suffer (or prosper?) when
newborn life resumes, when trying to read or watch a movie sits at about #176 on the
priority list. So, enjoy these well-rested reviews while they last. And don’t hesitate to
contact me for congratulations, commiserations, babysitting offers or shiraz.
READ: SNAKE ISLAND – By Ben Hobson
Seeing the premise of this literary thriller (coastal town, harsh landscape, trouble afoot),
you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d seen this novel before. But Hobson brings an originality
to the crime-laden hamlet tale, and you barely get a breath throughout. Caleb, son of
retirees Vernon and Penelope, is in prison and when Vern learns his boy is being bashed
(while the cops turn a blind eye) by a member of the town’s violent crime family, he’s forced
to act. What follows is a rollicking morality tale, told from the perspective of family on both
sides and the police chief, forcing you to reckon with your own sense of what it means to be
good, long after the final page.
Available from Dymocks, $29.99
READ: THE ALL NEW MUST HAVE ORANGE 430 – By Michael Speechley
Picked up this guy from the library recently, and while it’s way too advanced for my son, it
contains sage messages about consumerism for six-to-eight year olds. The book follows
Harvey in his quest to buy the all-new ORANGE 430 (manufactured by the overlords at
Useless Object International or UOI). Why? He’s not too sure, but he knows he needs it! This
is a tale about the useless stuff we covet and pile in our homes, when there are much more
fun and important things to worry about. Speechley’s illustrations are vivid and fun too.
Available from Dymocks, $24.99
WATCH: EVERYTHING MUST GO
Will Ferrell’s an actor that divides the punters – you either love him or hate him. I’m firmly
in the former camp, so I was rapt to spot this 2010 comedy-drama on a drizzly Sunday night.
Ferrell plays Nick Halsey, a salesman and recovering alcoholic who loses his job following a
relapse, returning home to find his wife gone, the locks changed, and all of his possessions
scattered across the front lawn. Rebecca Hall, who plays a lonely neighbour who’s just
moved in across the street, and C.J. Wallace (Biggie Smalls’ son), who plays a bored
neighbourhood kid looking for companionship, both turn in ripping performances. But it’s
Ferrell (who, if you’ve seen Stranger Than Fiction, is no slouch in dramatic roles) that packs
the punches. Just don’t expect standard laugh-a-minute Ferrell terrain.
DO: MORPHETT VALE RAILWAY
If you’ve got a young grom that loves machines, this place is a no-brainer. Occupying about
two kilometres of track in Morphett Vale’s Wilfred Taylor Reserve, the Railway owns a
bunch of miniature trains and lays claim to the coveted record of longest and highest model
railway bridge in SA (take that, runner-up!). It’s seven bucks for unlimited rides, but one
seemed like an eternity – for my bony butt, at least. The little guy? Other than being a tad
scared by the tunnel the first couple of goes, his smile went from ear to ear the entire time.