A mother who invented her past, a father who was often absent, a son who wondered if this could really be his family.
Richard Glover's favourite dinner-party game is called 'Who's Got the Weirdest Parents?'. It's a game he always thinks he'll win. There was his mother, a deluded snob, who made up large swathes of her past and who ran away with Richard's English teacher, a Tolkien devotee, nudist and stuffed-toy collector. There was his father, a distant alcoholic, who ran through a gamut of wives, yachts and failed dreams. And there was Richard himself, a confused teenager, vulnerable to strange men, trying to find a family he could belong to. As he eventually accepted, the only way to make sense of the present was to go back to the past – but beware of what you might find there. Truth can leave wounds – even if they are only flesh wounds.
Part poignant family memoir, part rollicking venture into a 1970s Australia, this is a book for anyone who's wondered if their family is the oddest one on the planet. The answer: 'No'. There is always something stranger out there.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Richard Glover’s self-narrated memoir is a gently layered account of abandonment, white lies and family revelations, springing from a loveless childhood in suburban Australia in the 1970s. But as the columnist and radio presenter points out, this audiobook "is no Angela’s Ashes”. While there are deeply mournful moments, finding the humour amid the dysfunction is Glover’s masterstroke. Flesh Wounds is disarmingly funny, with story after story involving friendly eccentrics, exasperated stepmothers, and the occasional nudist and talking toy animal. Glover’s tone is blunt but never harsh, and reveals a deep affection for his younger self and troubled relatives. For an audiobook that’s so much about contempt and neglect, this yarn is a real pleasure to listen to, thanks to Glover’s quintessentially Australian voice and buoyant performance.