Books and Publishing
Through it all, Doust flexes a remarkably matter-of-fact delivery: ‘He was as happy as a man could expect given he’d gone through a relationship collapse, the tail end of a war, a couple of beatings, car accidents and another period of depression.’ Against that ever-shifting backdrop of war—and more intimate turmoil—Jack soaks up enough bracing experience for many lifetimes over, and it’s to Doust’s credit that it all rings true.
Reviewed by Doug Wallen, a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor
ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
I’ve read a good many books set in oppressive regimes, from the USSR to China, but I don’t think I’ve read one before where the protagonist has such a profound distaste for a western capitalist state that he could not abide living in it. He loathes the unfairness of the system, and is burdened by guilt because he is a beneficiary of it. At the same time, he is also seeking love and contentment, and he takes the loss of the child he never knew very much to heart. Friends he meets lighten his journey, and these vignettes show that his capacity to value people for who they are and not what they represent, is the key to him becoming a better man, a good father and a loyal friend.
An unforgettable book.
Reviewed by Lisa Hill, a keen reader who lives in Melbourne, Victoria. Her natural habitat is a library.
Queensland Reviewers Collective
The title of the trilogy – One Boy’s Journey to Man – is a clear indication of where this book is heading. How it gets there – or more accurately how Jack gets there – is beautifully realised in this narrative about how the persons we love and who love us can steer us towards a better life. Jack does not gloss over the more unsavoury aspects of his life – he readily acknowledges his mistakes and his bad behaviour – but he also acknowledges his better moments.
It may be tempting to presume that the novel is a thinly disguised autobiography as the author’s own story is similar to Jack’s. That, however, may be jumping to a conclusion too far and it is better I think for the reader to appreciate the novel as it is
Return Ticket is well worth the reading and it is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Rod McLary