Living on Hope Street by Demet Divaroren
Published by Allen & Unwin
Date: 24 May 2017
“We all love someone, we all fear something. Sometimes it’s right next door, or even closer.”
Where do you begin writing a review when a book has had such a profound effect on you, one that you’re not expecting? You have so much to say, yet you’re not quite sure how to say it because nothing can prepare you for the impact those first few pages have on you. As you continue to read you feel hopeful…both for the lives of these everyday suburban people whose have already become etched in your mind, and hopeful that my words can do the book justice.
“This morning, Dad’s eyes were like glass.”
It was clear in those early words that life for Kane, Sam and Angie was always about living on edge, their days filled with fear and placing invisible barriers around themselves as a means of getting through everyday. I felt my stomach sink and my eyes water as I read those initial perspectives from Kane and Sam, such intensity I have not felt before, the characters minds fueled with sadness and intense fear and mine also.
“You’re gonna take me away” he said, wiping snot on his knees
This book, based on modern Australian suburban life not only enlighten us on the tough issues that many Australian families face, but also shares the heartwarming aspects too. With neighbours that reach out such as Mrs Aslan with the Nene heart, the refugees with no worldly possessions but shine bright with happiness and Ada, despite her hard exterior she has much to give and share. The author has captured each character and brought them to life so vividly that at the end of the book I didn’t want to say goodbye, I felt that each one had more stories to share.
Living on hope street is all about diversity, stereotypes, friendships across cultures, about what is happening behind doors that are being “seen”but people are choosing to ignore. A voice has been given to the Australian people from many cultures, both those misunderstood and those accepted.
I without a doubt recommend this book, it is heavy but heartwarming and it is real life but not the life we all know. It is a young adult book and feel it would make a good book for discussion. I think so many of us in Australia have grown up in streets where this type of real life happened, where it is still happening. In some way big or small we can relate.
Congratulations to the Author Demet Divaroren for writing what is bound to be a much loved piece of fiction.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.