Real differences are the ones that most of us seek throughout life. There is a need to live our lives within a certain moral code and feeling as though somehow, we have made a difference in our world. Making a mark and leaving some kind of legacy for the following generation or just gaining total fulfillment within a cause is what many of us attempt to do. This story covers so many differences within a family and friendship setting.
Nick comes from a white middle class family and narrates this tale. He is friends with Andie, a Chinese woman born in Indonesia. Her parents were forced to flee an uprising and arrived in Australia with very little. She and Nick study hard together and develop a strong bond which lasts all their lives. Both are determined to make a real difference in the world and spend many nights discussing how they will go about this. So many differences in choices and paths are highlighted and fall into being.
Nick is offered a job in a progressive law firm, while Andie is proposed to by a wealthy man in the business world. Her Chinese family have survived by driving taxis and sewing for wealthy women. Having struggled so hard to achieve a level of financial security, they want their family to embrace the world they have access to through study. Andie’s nephew, Tony, has been driven so hard by his parents that he finds solace and peace of mind in joining a religious group. His difference is rebellion.
We follow the struggles these outstanding characters have, to look intellectually at their world and their time while reaching adulthood. Tony’s mother realises as she sews for the local ladies, ‘Goodness is cheap over here,’ that these ladies have never had their sweetness tested. Depression is a reality for one of the characters who is frustrated by well-meaning friends who say the depression isn’t real, it’s only an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.
So many issues are woven into this story in a seamless and plausible way. The characters are believable and the situations true. Nick gives us a gentle horror of what realities are to be faced in a thinking life.
|Author||S. L. Lim|