Aussie Author Challenge Book Reviews

Book Review: The Mary Smokes Boys

…by Patrick Holland.

The Mary Smokes Boys

In the little town of Mary Smokes just outside of Brisbane, 10 year old Grey North watches as his mother dies giving birth to his younger sister, Irene. What initially begins as resentment towards his sister slowly turns into protection and a deep attachment as she grows older and reminds him more of his mother. Their father Bill is a drunk leaving Irene to depend solely on her older brother. Grey begins to hang out with the “Wild boys” (as his mother referred to) in the nights following her death. He builds a close relationship with one of them, Eccleston, a half-Aboriginal boy. The book follows them as they grow older and remain in Mary Smokes. It follows their lives — their attachments, their difficulties, their traumas — their basic existence.

The book started off in a very promising manner for me but somehow, I got lost a quarter of the way into it. Holland has a wonderful way of describing the places and the setting but somehow, I personally found it hard to figure out the characters further. I didn’t feel any sort of attachment towards Grey and Irene was okay for me in bits. Horses seemed to play a crucial role and it is entirely possible that I missed any symbolism because I just couldn’t get my head around it. The ending I must admit, redeemed the book to a certain extent for me. Maybe I expected a lot given the synopsis but on the whole, I was a bit disappointed with this book. [Don’t judge it entirely on my review as I read some positive reviews too].

My rating:

Where to buy the book:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | BookworldKindle

***This has been reviewed as part of the 2012 Aussie Author Challenge***

Until next time,


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