I used to not like Marieke Hardy. I grumbled away when she was on Triple J. I found her obstructive. Always having an “other” point of view. She seemed determined to provoke, challenge and obstruct.
These days, these are exactly the quality in Marieke that I have come to love.
Australia is very short on women with a strong point of view.
And agree or disagree with her points of view on things, I adore the fact that she has one.
This book is very playful. Set up by the delightful preface by her father, we immediately understand that this book is not to be taken to seriously. And for me this book was a joy. It was like revisiting your twenties. The curiosity to know about stuff, the freedom to make mistakes without consequence, the excess and self-indulgence. The search for intensity of experience.
I sat, absolutely transfixed, listening to my boyfriend apparently thoroughly enjoying himself with another woman. It felt f**ked up and intense”
Yes, she goes quite far. And there is quite alot of sex in the book. Not graphic sex scenes, she spares us the gory details. No, she relates sexual adventures. Adventures with swingers. What buyer’s remorse feels like when the prostitute has gone, or a hipster’s outing to a strip joint.
She loves to provoke, but is also happy to mock her own behaviour, her own hypocrisy and silliness. The book feels quite open in that way.
There are some serious, poignant moments in the book. Dealing with a friend with cancer. Or an ex-boyfriend. Her ex Matty is given the right to respond in the book and I found his commentary so bitter-sweet:
I may not be the person you remember. Or the person you think I am. That’s a real shame to me. That you don’t know me at all
Killer comment. Something we can all relate to I imagine.
Matt also accuses her of writing herself as a caricature. And yes it does feel like that through most of the book. She is bright, bouncy, curious, self-reflective, but immune to any consequences. When I read memoirs, I like to get a sense of how people develop through their experience. How they became what they are. There is no sense of that in this book. Marieke feels perpetually trapped in the freedom of her twenties, like her friend Gen:
Gen was not a grown up.
Gen was determinedly frozen in her rock’n’roll twenties.
But it is a fun ride, an easy read and I welcome this voice, that is so bold and carefee.