Although this may at first glance look like an Alphabet book for children, it is not! It is an ironic look at us, the people of Australia and what we stand for.
It is disturbing in that the modern and perhaps not so modern myth of the Aussie, great person, accepting and helpful to all and so forth, is put under the microscope and found to be somewhat wanting and definitely a lot jaded.
It is in every aspect uncompromising and although this may seem like a tough definition of the great Australian person, it is a perspective reflecting the Australian culture and the myths that are perpetuated within.
Each page, commencing with the letter A for Aborigine; with a simple, unflinching picture a wealth of meaning, history and failure is encapsulated. B for Boat people follows; a topic that has been dragged, touted and sensationalised since the Vietnamese fled their country back in the 1970’s. A lot, yet not a lot has changed!
The powerful image D for Digger is reflective of our history at war with the same sad result.
But there is a glimmer of the Australian sense of humour amongst the reflective commentary when you get to T for Thong! And a definite chuckle at V for Vegemite; something they say only Australians can eat!
Each letter is worthy of sitting and reflecting upon individually, in regard to what is encapsulated in the lines, the image, the quirks of society past and present. What you find will surprise you.
Is it a comment on who we are now, who we were, or who we believe ourselves as a nation to be, but sadly are falling short of the mark. Or is it a truthful reflection on how we are seen by others who come to these shores to make a new life, to settle in what is touted to be a place of fairness and equality, to be free from oppression and mostly to be given a fair and equal chance in life!
Evocatively, the national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, is printed on the final pages. Read it with a reflective attitude in mind and once read, it may pay to take stock of just how true to these sentiments we are as individuals and as a Nation!
|Publisher||Allen & Unwin|
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|