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Misfits & Me: Collected Non-fiction

Misfits and many Mandy Sayer appear to go together like chocolate and red wine, or Laurel and Hardy, or most importantly Mandy and husband Louis Nowra, two likeminded souls who accept that they are different to the accepted norm in the way they choose to live their lives, but do so and do so very successfully and happily.

But onto the stories encapsulated within the book, a book of Sayers published essays with topics ranging from her childhood, to current times and the wonderful, eclectic mix of people that life does contain.

In her daily life, whether as a writer, freelancer or everyday person she has enjoyed the company of so many people society would call marginalised, with the interesting discovery that these people, the battlers, the diverse and the definitely different do not consider they are marginalised, just different as they see things from a different perspective and live their lives accordingly.

Balanced perspective is delivered with three specific sections loosely categorised into life, love and literature and art, which allows a very diverse and yet similar cross section of people to be presented, such as Aunty Avril the family hoarder, a relative who went on to be the first member of the family to exhibit this particular trait, but certainly was not the last.

Moving as a young teen to New Orleans with her father, formed a very important aspect of Mandy Sayers life; a life where she performed as a tap dancer to the accompaniment of her father’s music. Here she was to meet the young people known as Quarter Rats, the kids who earned a living dancing on the street of New Orleans. They were fascinated by her style, her fathers drumming and the fancy steps she could do. Pork Chop and the street kids agreed she was a good tapper!

A section devoted to Thea Astley makes very good reading, as she and Sayer discuss the various aspects of being a writer, with another fascinating look a little further on in respect to Ernest Hemmingway and how he, once a lauded writer, fell from perhaps not grace, but certainly fashion!

One of the more memorable pieces is Elsie Turns Forty. Elsie was the first women’s refuge to be created in Australia at a time when there was little, if no support for abused women and children. Forty years on, in 2014 it was finally closed, having offered shelter, hope and support to so many over the years.

People Power at Ponderosa also rates up there with the more memorable stories, as Sayer has painted a powerful word picture with the help of Woolley with his prosaic acceptance of the hand life has dealt him and a group of people making the most out of what they have been given or offered.

A short piece on the Reviewer is also one of interest, nestled amongst the many pieces, most relating to an event of significance in her own life, but all offering a closer look into the ‘other side’ of society and the intriguing people that find themselves enveloped in this lifestyle, often for better and or worse.

Warm, quirky, and immensely enjoyable the essays are portraits in words, which will leave you with a new and fresh perspective on who the people are that often end up classified as the misfits of society; people who will remain with you for a very long time!

Great reading.

AuthorMandy Sayer
PublisherNew South Publications
DistributorNew South Books
ReleasedOctober 2018