Review Blog

May 20 2013

Me and Rory Macbeath by Richard Beasley

cover image

Hachette, 2013. ISBN 9780733630309.
(Age: Mid secondary - adult) Recommended. Me and Rory Macbeath is set in 1970s Adelaide. Jake's mother, Harry, is a barrister, a heavy drinker and an even heavier smoker. Jake is not good in a fist fight but he has learned to fight with words after many late-night parties where he hears Harry and her colleagues wrangle. Much of the second half of the book takes place in court.
Jake has been friends with Robbie Duncan for a long time, but his new friendship with Rory becomes more significant in the year he turns thirteen. The three boys live in the same street, hang around together and go on fishing trips with Robbie's policeman father. But Rory's father is not the same kind of family man as Alec Duncan and something happens that throws Rose Avenue off kilter.
Life is changing for Jake - ' I could see that it [childhood] had ended, ended with what had happened that night . . . I wasn't a man but I didn't feel like a boy either, and I wasn't ready for that kind of change.'
The prologue of Me and Rory Macbeath is short but poignant and it complements the ending. This novel could be used in older secondary English classrooms, perhaps as a companion novel to Jasper Jones or The Cartographer, which have similar accessible styles and the theme of the search for identity by a boy who is making sense of the world and his place in it. Rory Macbeath has detailed courtroom and related scenes which would also be of interest for those contemplating a career in law, especially the bar.
Joy Lawn

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