Review Blog

May 29 2019

A spanner in the works: The extraordinary life of Alice Anderson by Loretta Smith

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Hachette Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780733642104. 384 pg., paperback.
General Biography. I loved reading about the life of Alice Anderson and her families hardships growing up in Australia from 1897 and into the 1920s. The adventurous life that Alice had was amazing.
The first half of the book was about Alice being a toddler and growing up in Victoria and how they survived the hardships they encountered. I still can't believe how her mother and siblings put up with their father and let him continue doing what he did still surprises me. This was probably the norm back then.
I think the book is a great read to learn about Australian history and how people lived. Major world events were mentioned and how these affected members of the family and others and the way they lived dealing with them. And yes there was name dropping of people that the family knew like Monash, the war great and a few politicians and what these people were like before they made a name for themselves.
The second half of the book was about her achievements in the motoring world and how she made her career and a name for herself. And of course establishing the garage girls in that era was not an easy thing to do.
I think this book is a great tool to use in schools for the appreciation of what females had to go through in a male dominated era: Not only the journey of families but also the way females were treated in the academic and medical world and how they had to make a mark in their field.
A great book that I'm happy to have on my shelf and share with friends.
Maria Komninos

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