My book has been out for nearly three months now and, though I've had some terrific reviews, I'd given up on seeing one in the Melbourne Age.
I was disappointed at first. Alzheimer's: a Love Story is such a Melbourne story, I think. One of the best parts of writing it was learning about a Melbourne that has now vanished. I loved hearing my father's story of running out of petrol during the rationing period soon after the Second World War, and how he had to push the car through the city, up Lonsdale Street where his factory was, to the Russell Street Police Station, where he was given enough petrol to get him home.
And the story of the time before Father's Day one year when the Myer store ran out of Gloweave shirts. Dad parked his car right outside the store's main entrance and he and Baillieu Myer themselves carried the cartons of shirts up to the sales floor.
There were many more stories that brought the past of this city alive.
Anyway, I told myself I didn't care that my hometown newspaper wasn't interested in reviewing my book. I've done very well, I told myself. Don't be greedy.
Then on Saturday there it was: a half page review accompanied by a coloured photograph of me. To be honest, my first response was not excitement but anxiety: surely in such along review there was bound to be at least one negative comment. And I knew that no matter how many nice things were said it was the criticism that would stick in my mind and whisper in my ear at night.
I was in Melbourne as it happened the morning the review came out. As soon as I had the paper in my hot little hand I rang Farmdoc to read the review to him. I approached each sentence with trepidation: uh oh, here it comes.
In the end I spoiled the moment for myself with unnecessary anxiety because there was not one negative word. On the contrary, the review compares me with Joan Didion (blush) and ends by saying 'It is eloquently written, beautifully observed and painfully honest, yet never sentimental or self-indulgent.' Yay!
If you click on the photo above you can enlarge it and read the review for yourself. Otherwise, in the next few days my clever daughter Meg will post it on my website and you can read it there, along with all the other kind things people have said about me and my book. Thanks for the photo, Farmdoc.