Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Review: Storytime by Jane Sullivan

Literary Journalist Jane Sullivan (who you may know from the Turning Pages column in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald,) spent much her childhood immersed in books. Now, many years later, she has decided to revisit those years and the many books that she read in Storytime, and take a look at how they shaped her to become the adult--and reader--that she is today.

One part memoir and one part literary criticism, this one was an enjoyable read. Full of nostalgia, the volume includes short essays from prominent Australian writers on their favourite books. The author holds nothing back as she admits to the many misconceptions that she made about the books that she read during her formative years. On a more personal level, I was very keen to see how many of the same books I had read as the author. The answer to that question, as it turned out, was not many, though much could be owed to the fact that I grew up in a different era, in an entirely different country. 

Although this one is an enjoyable read and offers a good dose of literary criticism, along with some interesting tidbits (I knew nothing of Lewis Carroll's uh, reputation,) this volume does feel a little self-indulgent in places and the author isn't necessarily kind to all of the books and authors she revisits. However, that particular failing is easy to overlook when examining this unique and honest book as a whole. 

Recommended.

Thank you to Ventura Press for my review copy.