Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Fortunate Life by AB Facey

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1981
Number of pages: 326

Started: 22 March 2008
Finished: 26 March 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

Bert Facey sees himself as an ordinary man, but his remarkable story reveals a winner against impossible odds. At eight, his 'childhood' ended and he went out to work - clearing, ploughing, fencing, droving, sinking dams, boxing with a travelling troupe. He survived Gallipoli to become a farmer, but was forced to leave the land during the Depression.

A Fortunate Life is the amazing true story of the life of Albert Facey, covering his life from his birth in 1894 to around 1976, six years before he died. Bert had little schooling and mostly taught himself to read and write. He began keeping notes about his life and eventually compiled them chronologically into this book at the urging of his family.

The writing is not at all flowery or lyrical - Facey tells the story straight up and betrays little emotion throughout, only occasionally mentioning his loneliness in the bush, his terror during the war, and his deep love for his wife and children. The story is so chock-full of events that, had overly descriptive language been used, the impact of his story would have been lessened.

A Fortunate Life moves along at a cracking pace and is a remarkable story of endurance and humbleness in the face of incredible hardship. The book gives a wonderful view of how life was lived in Australia during this time period. Highly recommended.

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