My Career Goes Bung by Miles Franklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I read My Brilliant Career a while ago and was happy to leave Sybylla Melvyn where she was (though I was informed the movie ending differs! I’ve still yet to watch it). There has not been many encouraging reviews for My Career Goes Bung either so I did not actually put the book on my tbr list. However, I’ve recently read Miles Franklin biography, Stella Miles Fraklin: A Biography and my curiosity was piqued. Both books were meant to be fiction but were apparently close enough to her own life that it was rather like an autobiography though it was denied as such by the author herself. From, her biography, I found that Miles Franklin to be an admirable woman of strength who formed her own opinions and stuck true to herself. There were, of course, some decisions which sounded strange but she was a rather unique personality.
Despite the not-so-good reviews for this particular book, I have actually enjoyed it. I had to keep in mind that this book was written immediately after My Brilliant Career was published though it was not published until 1946 (the foreword in my edition noted; “The spectre of libel actions loomed too large and Robertson [publisher] at that time had no choice but to refuse publication.”) so it was still a very young Miles Franklin who wrote this book. The thoughts on women and their places in society were the reflection of a young intelligent woman rather than a bitter unmarried lady (she seemed a little bitter later on in her biography). It was glaringly obvious that Sybylla was seeking to be her own self and to enjoy her writing without having to oblige to society’s demand of marriage. She was also capably independent though somewhat naive so there were some chuckles over her encounters with men.
I don’t particularly understand any woman’s wish to stay unmarried but that is a matter of personal preferences and we each differ in so many ways. I do, however, understand that repressiveness portrayed by Sybylla Melvyn of being shackled by society’s expectation of a woman and her wish to dislodge these old conceptions. She, like Miles Franklin herself, is a modern woman alive in the cusp of old-to-new age and was born to fight so we women can be where we are today.