30 August 2012

Confessions of a Liar,

Thief and Failed Sex God

by Bill Condon

Woolshed Press. Australian, Young Adult. Paperback rrp $18.95

Neil Bridges is a 16-year-old Catholic school boy who doesn’t know what he wants to do or where he wants to go. It is 1967 and the all-boy’s school he attends is run by teachers and priests who believe that a leather strap is the best way to learn manners, mathematics and the right way to being a better person. His strict but loving parents are hard-working and try to bring up Neil and his older brother, Kevin, as good Catholics.

What Neil wants is to grow up. But there are too many distractions. The girls in the girl’s school next door, his brother leaving for service in Vietnam, and the loss of his best friend.

When Neil loses his best mate in a strange accident, he doesn’t know where to turn. He is confused and angry. When he starts to form an alliance with a boy that was expelled from his school, indirectly due to Neil not telling the truth, his life starts to take an upward turn.

Bill Condon has written a book that is universal in time – set 40 years ago, it is equally relevant today. I guarantee you cannot put this one down. I read it in one sitting. More than the confessions of a teenage boy, it is a record of the journey into adulthood. Sometimes that journey seems so fast, it’s in danger of spinning out of control.

Bill Condon’s Dogs (2001) and No Worries (2005) were Honour Books in the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards. No Worries was also short-listed for the Ethel Turner Prize in the 2005 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Daredevils made the long-list in the inaugural Inky Awards.

The Reading Stack reviewed Bill Condon’s Daredevils in Issue 1 and Give Me Truth in Issue 14.

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