Being a teenager in the twenty-first century is difficult enough, without being faced with the dilemma of having to balance your life in two diagonally opposed social settings. Author Tobias McCorkell, in his debut novel, “Everything in its Right Place” explores eighteen months in the life of the protagonist, Ford McCullen; his coming of age in an exclusive school while living in the less than salubrious northern suburb of Melbourne.
Ford lives in Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne with his emotionally unstable mother, Deidre, and maternal grandparents, Pop and Noonie in what he refers to as “The Compound”, a pair of units in the shadow of Pentridge prison. His father had long since left the family to live with his male partner in rural Victoria. After Ford’s paternal grandmother, Queenie, comes into some money his life is transformed forever; he is enrolled in a prestigious all boys Catholic private school on the other side of the river, and plays an expensive violin. His balancing act begins; balancing separate identities.
Balancing the desire of the school to cultivate young gentlemen with his football, drinking, drug taking friends from Coburg, is but only one of Ford’s challenges. Ford is a dutiful teen torn between loyalties, expectations and desire not to disappoint.
This narrative explores how Ford manages his dysfunctional family; how he comes to terms with his mother’s suffocating love, the aspirations of his grandparents, his father’s neglect and his own desire to develop as an individual.
As this novel takes on a multitude of themes including family, sexuality, class, friendships and love, it will appeal to a wider range of young at heart readers; not only teen readers.