Seven young people go camping in a wild place known as Hell. They emerge to find their homes empty, their animals dead, their country invaded. How much courage does it take just to stay alive?
As a break from exam study, and due to my lack of time to read more than half a book in the last week, I thought I’d update about my favourite author of all time. I started reading John Marsden’s books in 1993 at the age of eight. Since then, I always think of him first as my favourite author. He would be the author I would choose if I could only read one person’s books for the rest of my life, without a doubt. (Sorry, Neil, you know I love you, too.)
Is there something wrong when your main ambition in life is to be dead?
John Marsden, for those of you not from Australia (or somehow not aware of if you are Australian) is an Australian author who is most known for the Tomorrow series, the first of which is soon to be made into a movie. He writes about hard hitting topics in many of his novels - parental abuse and looking different in So Much To Tell You, psychiatric wards in Checkers, juvenile detention in Letters From the Inside, suicide and sex in Dear Miffy, parental deaths with an unexpected twist in Winter, and of course the possibility of invasion and war in Australia in the Tomorrow series. Homosexuality, anorexia, self-injury and many other ‘controversial’ aspects are also delved into across Marsden’s stories.
Dreamed about you again. Like I do most nights. Sometimes it’s nightmares. Sometimes it’s good dreams. Sometimes I have to change the sheets.
There is a band I believe saved my life, because I feel like without them I would never have been able get through some of the things I went through as a teenager. I think the same about John Marsden’s books. I have scattered memories of reading his books in numerous different hospitals, in waiting rooms, while listening to doctors’ have group meetings to talk about their future “plans” for me: taking my face off or breaking my jaw or cutting through my skull behind my ears to reconstruct my ear canals. I pulled ‘packing’ (special gauze) out of my right ear after having surgery when I was 12 years old because I was absent-mindedly fiddling with my ear while reading Burning For Revenge. When it came out, blood went everywhere. While my mother was panicking about my ear and the damage I might have caused, I was only upset about my now blood-covered book. The following year, when I first heard someone say something nasty to my face about the way I look, I thought, “This is how Marina felt.” That’s why So Much To Tell You is my favourite book of all time and the title of this blog.
I don’t know what I’m doing here. Well, I do, really... I have been sent here to learn to talk again. Sent here because my mother can’t stand my silent presence at home. Sent here because of my face...
John Marsden’s stories were, and still are, a significant part of my life and I truly cannot imagine my life without them. He is the only person I’ve ever drafted a fan letter to, multiple in fact (unless you count the letters I’ve drafted to the craniofacial surgeon I saw for 16 years; he is the person I admire most in the world). I felt like I couldn’t put into words what John's stories meant to me and still feel like that today. So let’s just leave it as this: they changed my life.
I’m an expert on fear now. I think I’ve felt every strong feeling there is: love, hate, jealousy. But fear’s the greatest of them all. Nothing reaches inside you and grabs you by the guts the way fear does. Nothing else possesses you like that.