Review: His Stupid Boyhood by Peter Goldsworthy

Title: His Stupid Boyhood

Author: Peter Goldsworthy

Published: Hamish Hamilton: Penguin Au July 2013

Status: Read from August 19 to 20, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Peter Goldsworthy can boast of many accomplishments. Not only is he a doctor, currently working as a GP, he has won major literary awards across a range of genres including poetry, short story, the novel, in opera, and most recently in theatre, earning him the Medal of Australia for services to literature in 2010. But from his behaviour and attitude as a young boy and adolescent, few would have believed him capable of such meritorious achievements.

In this frank, often charming, sometimes unseemly, memoir, Goldsworthy reveals an early sexual fetish for car cranks, a middle childhood marked by mayhem and mischief, and an early adolescence of obsessive interests including geology, chemistry, pulp science fiction, and a complete lack of self awareness. And through it all, books were his most constant companions, “The most constant furnishings in the ever-changing homes of my childhood were those books. The most lasting friends I made…were the authors of those books.”

Moving frequently at the whim of his father’s employer, the Department of Education, Goldsworthy cycles through the regional areas of Adelaide, and then up to Darwin. While his mother hopes desperately for an electric oven and air conditioning with each move, Peter mostly relishes new territory to explore. Steeped in self absorption he makes friends and enemies in equal measure, indulges in petty theft and makes youthful boasts of prowess, all the while risking life and limb by experimenting with chemistry supplies bought in bulk from local hardware stores.

Eventually his teenage eccentricities, including his affectation for wearing a cravat and smoking a pipe, are exchanged for long hair and a pair of high-heeled, elastic-sided brown suede boots worn to poetry readings and Vietnam protests at university, where he studied medicine.
If not for collapsed lungs and an extended hospital stay at eighteen, Goldsworthy’s childhood may have never ended, but forced for the first time to confront his fallibility Goldsworthy makes the shift into adulthood.

Interspersed with poetry, photographs and sketches of a Molotov cocktail cleverly disguised as a rocket, His Stupid Boyhood reveals ‘the naivety and the precocity, the stupidity and the ingenuity, the rationality and the magical thinking’ p244 of a boy, now a man known as Peter Goldsworthy.

Available to Purchase From

Penguin AU I Boomerang Books I Booktopia I Amazon Kindle

via Booko


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: His Stupid Boyhood, by Peter Goldsworthy | ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

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