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The Fence Painting Fortnight of Destiny

Memoirs are strange fruit indeed and always one wonders when memoirs are written by someone who has lived a comparatively short time, as in 40 years more or less. This is not to say a memoir can’t be just that, a reflection of life lived, causes won and lost and lessons learned.

This is just what Meshel Laurie has delivered with her reflections on her life thus far while painting a fence. In this look at her life she brings us many things, one of them a thumbnail portrait of what it was like to be involved in the very early days of stand-up comedy in Australia, which is not all you though it may have been!

When looked at we see the many facets that go to forming the person she has evolved to: the depths of living that go into making one of Australia’s household names both as a stand-up comedian, radio and television presenter.  

Meshel has delivered a no holds barred look at her life from growing up as a child in a very religious household, to knocking against the rules both of home, family and society and the situations she landed herself into as she grew and broadened her horizons.

The conflict with her father, the many issues that combine to make up a family, the strength of her mother and her love for her own children are all discussed in a very honest and open way.

Her years spent managing brothels are openly tabled giving the reader an in-depth look at the darker side of urban life and the people who work the sex industry. Heart-warming and heart aching we met a list of characters who will make you laugh and cry.

Meshel has grown up in the entertainment industry with names such as Dave Hughes, Rove McManus and so on, all of whom have mentored her, helped her with breaks and given support when she was down. We get to see a completely different side of the industry; that of hard work, deep disappointment, disillusionment and the sheer guts it takes to be a performer in a very challenging world of entertainment.

The world of drug addiction is addressed; telling it like it is and was for her as she travels the road to success, failing more times that she would like to have believed. Through it all there is a very strong drive to make it; honest realisation and sheer determination to keep on, eventually to succeed in her chosen field, that of pure entertainment.

She reflects on the lessons taught and learned as she crashed her way through the past 40 years. Significantly, in the depths of despair she delved into Buddhism, an area she had always been interested in on the fringes of everything else, discovering the discipline of the philosophy, the pathways, wisdom  and meditation to be what she had been looking for to bring balance back into her life.

From there the story looks to be upbeat all the way with her beloved husband of 20 years coming back into her life, the rifts with her parents healing, her career on a forward trajectory and life with her children bringing with it more joy that imagined.

Well done Meshel Laurie on walking a tough pathway and still being able to reflect, learn, grow and smile at the end of the day.

AuthorMeshel Laurie
PublisherAllen & Unwin