- ISBN: 9781743437667 (electronic bk.)
- ISBN: 1743437668 (electronic bk.)
- Physical Description: 1 online resource
- Publisher: [United States] : Allen & Unwin : 2014.
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Elizabeth Ward, known to one and all as Biff Ward, has written a very moving account of her childhood. Of a household that tiptoes around her mother, who clearly has her demons. We learn early on that before Biff and her younger brother, Mark, there was Alison, who drowned in her bath. Maybe this baby died when her mother was distracted but, as the story unfolds, we become more certain that she was actually killed. Biff, too, is once almost throttled by her mother, and she is always on guard-wanting to know where her mother is in the house, and where her beloved father is. She fears for the safety of her brother. As Biff grows into teenage-hood, there develops a conspiratorial relationship between her and her father, who is a famous and gregarious man, trying to keep his wife's problems as a family secret. The mother is somewhat paranoid; she believes they are being spied on. And indeed, that is not a delusion-the father is publicly known as a Communist, although he ultimately resigns from the party as he feels his membership is contributing to his wife's downward spiral. This is the 1950s, a time when the insane are committed and locked up in Dickensian institutions; whatever his problems, he is desperate to save his wife from that fate. This is a beautifully written coming-of-age true story, set in Sydney, Canberra, and Armidale. Emotionally perplexing, it has some of the qualities of a first-rate mystery. There is the mystery of Alison's death, of where the mother's illness will lead to, and what kind of man the father is-a legend or a womanizer, or both. This is a story that will intrigue readers of any age.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
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