review first posted at Boomerang Books
Allen & Unwin
Marieke Hardy became a much more visible presence on the Australian landscape with her regular spot on ABC Television's First Tuesday Book Club. But of course she had been around for much longer than that, writing for The Age and elsewhere, including the Australian Writers Guild's magazine, script writing and acting when younger. She is clearly a fascinating individual and I looked forward to finally getting to review this book.
This is less a biography and more a collection of shorter pieces about aspects of her life, some of which previously appeared in print in shorter form.
I had expected to be entertained and I was certainly not disappointed. Hardy's prose is every bit as sharp and bright as her verbal barbs on television. I was quite literally laughing out loud in places which is unusual for me even when amused while reading. I had started writing down some memorable quotes for use in this review but there was simply so many of them. But referring to Alan Jones as 'that little cockstain' was just priceless.
This read was not all giggles and smirks. There is a darkness to Marieke Hardy as well and she was not afraid to explore this in places.
There was a passing reference to Hardy's great-Aunt Mary. I am old enough to remember the often outrageous and always funny, Mary Hardy when she was a fixture on Victorian television. Her tragic demise was surprisingly typical of many 'funny' people – surrounded by people yet alone and very sad. At the risk of sounding like a pompous, amateur headshrinker, I felt a sense of the same coming through at times in Marieke's writing.
This is an adult read in many respects and some of it is somewhat confronting. And I loved it.
“You'll be sorry when I'm dead” will definitely be going into my list of recommended reading from 2011.
(not my real name – read the foreword to get the joke)