Review Blog

Apr 24 2017

A place like this by Steven Herrick

cover image UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702229848
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Coming of age, Gap year, Travel. A sequel to Love, ghosts and nose hair, these two books have been reprinted for a new audience and are just as potent as when first published twenty years ago.
Herrick's familiar verse form exposes the two young people, their hopes and fears, as they set out from their stifling town after finishing year twelve, ready to experience what life is about. Both accepted into uni, they decide to buy a car and simply drive. Jack has a Tom Sawyer view of life; lazing by a river, making love, eating from the land, but when the car breaks down two days later, they are forced to accept work from an apple farmer who picks them up. Annabel, the practical one, says yes, knowing that Jack's utopian perspective will not put food in their mouths.
At the orchard they begin their work as a pair of travelers in the shed, making love on the hay bails, having picnics on the weekend, enjoying their work, but as time passes, they become more entwined with the farmer's family, particularly his pregnant sixteen year old, Emma. Jack and Annabel go along to birth classes with her, they stay longer than need be at the farm, until Annabel realises that they may never leave and so makes the decision to do so.
This is a wonderful read, full of the reality of life, so hidden from students pillowed by their parents, school and home life. When the two stumble over it, they become involved as they have never been involved before, and one learns from it, resolving to start again, if she can get Jack down out of the tree.
Fran Knight

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