Category Archives: History

Review: For Love of Country

for love of countryFor Love of Country by Anthony Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source; paperback copy courtesy of publisher

Whilst I read quite a number of memoirs, I’ve never actually read any ANZAC related ones so this is a first for me and really quite heartbreaking. The author has done a fantastic job in pulling all your interest for this particular family who has lost so, so much in building and protecting this country we call home. There were quite a few things that you could just assume from the outset but still when they happened, I felt teary just like I was part of the family.

For Love of Country tells the story of the Eddison family as they sought a new home and their struggle in and for this home. Captain Walter Eddison did not come from a wealthy family. Even though, his uncles and aunts managed to prosper in their endeavours, his father did not. And when he and Marion met, Walter also has not succeeded in any of his toils but he is not afraid of hard work. As they sought for opportunities outside of England, the war (WW1) broke out as Walter was visiting Australia. He, cajoled by his jackeroo colleagues, enlisted along with them. Thus began the family’s military journey.

Despite their struggle with the work of the land, they loved it nonetheless. And while young men are drawn by the glory of military careers, they come quickly to the realisation of how their services protect their families and home and this only spurred them further. There is no predictable outcome for the soldiers. There is no guarantee of coming home. Yet, we always hope. I wanted this so much for the Eddison family and my heart broke for them.

It does not matter if you don’t know your history well because Anthony Hill have done a marvellous job is summarising the wars and how they affected the world and more particularly, the Eddison family. ”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) But their deaths were for all Australians, then and now.

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for paperback copy in exchange of honest review

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Review: Eat First, Talk Later

eat firstEat First, Talk Later by Beth Yahp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

It was the title that got me. It’s such an Asian saying that I couldn’t help but be interested by what Beth Yahp had to say. I seemed to be mistaken a lot in my expectations of books this year and this was one of it… I probably saw the word ‘memoir’ and immediately expected that it would be about the author but if I read the blurb properly, I would read in the last paragraph, “Eat First, Talk Later is a beautifully written, absorbing memoir of a country…”

Oops, I’ve mismanaged my expectation of the work and was therefore, utterly puzzled by it! To begin with, I was so very confused by the structure (not chronological!) and almost gave up for the frustration in trying to keep up with the back and forth and all around in time. About ¾ of the way through this memoir, I finally understood that this work wasn’t really about the author. Whilst she was keen to explore her background and family history, the heft of her work is related to her birth country, Malaysia; the history, the culture, the food (!), and politics.

Because I was more invested in finding out about her story and her family’s story. I found those section a lot more appealing though I had to muddle through the switches between times and was also perplexed by her love lives. Far be it for me to judge but it was something I do not understand so once more, I was driven to confusion. On the other hand, the topics explored on Malaysia was truly enlightening. Whilst I know and loved some Malaysian cuisine, it seems I barely know anything of the country itself. I also grew up in an East-Asian country and cannot deny my Chinese appearance / heritage so I understood quite a few things she underwent and some of the matters expounded.

Eat First, Talk Later is an exploration of Malaysia with snippets of author’s family’s historical links to the country. It was a struggle in making sense of certain timelines but as to the topics discussed, author was eloquent in her views and they were clearly articulated. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I didn’t have to puzzle out the timelines.

Thanks Random House Australia for eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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