Funny, completely irreverent, intimate and “in your face”, take a walk in Michelle Lee’s life: be prepared to be fascinated, fed-up, annoyed and informed, particularly in the reflective “letters to myself” segments which show remarkable insight into what the future came to hold and is for playwright and author Michelle Lee.
In Banana Girl we are presented with a look at modern day life for so many of the X or Y or something or other generation, where it seems to revolve around, just exactly what I am not sure but could appear to be sex, drugs, alcohol, study, work, cultural acceptance and in so many more ways, growing up.
If nothing else Michelle Lee portrays a coming of age that encompasses all the so called “rites of passage”, deemed necessary to somehow or other, grow up, providing of course you survive your choice of pathway.
One thing she is not, is shy about her own pathways travelled towards this or her coming of age, which is shared in all its honesty, and in doing so addresses many of the various issue which can come with “kicking over the traces”, to use an old fashioned term.
Lee comes from one of the first resettled Hmong families in Australia and so has grown up between cultures, which in this case has created a woman who is at long last coming to terms with what it really means to be able to settle into a culture, that although different from her families traditional style, is the new face of Australia; one that she, her family and many other have been instrumental in creating.
She takes us inside the Hmong culture, giving us a better understanding of new resident families and their efforts to come to terms with a world that is so very different. She also allows us to see, from a young perspective, just what it is like being a part of a rapidly changing society, values and all.
This is more than just a story of Lee’s life to date; it’s about finding a sense of self, about fitting in or not, the choice being yours and yours alone, but underneath it all still trying to find the a way to meld both cultures into one that fits.