Review: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton

Australian journalist and now author Trent Dalton takes pieces of his life story and shapes them into a tall tale that is as entertaining as it is over-hyped. (Though that last bit isn't really the authors fault.) Set in Brisbane in the mid 1980s, it tells the story of Eli Bell, a kid on the cusp of puberty who has a heroine junkie for a stepdad and his favourite babysitter is a notorious criminal. Add to that a brother who refuses to speak and his interactions with a Brisbane drug dealer that eventually cause him to lose his lucky finger and for his mother to wind up in jail, and the whole thing is one heck of a ride.

Unfortunately, this one didn't hit all the right notes for me, though I very much enjoyed some parts of it. For me it was a book with entertaining bits in it that probably would have been a whole lot more entertaining if I hadn't been told just how much I should enjoy it by practically everyone on the planet and if I hadn't seen it displayed prominently in nearly every bookstore that I've entered over the course of the past year. Consequently, I went into this one with expectations that were far too high and those expectations more or less ruined the book for me. That said, though, if you're looking for an entertaining, and uniquely Australian yarn, this one might just be for you. 

I might pick this one up and read it again once all the hype dies down.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2019


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