I have just finished reading A Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes.
I wasn’t sure what to expect in this book but I was certainly surprised by the amount of violence he endured as a child. He is someone who has shown remarkable resilience to overcome all that was thrown at him during his childhood.
Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.
I hadn’t realised when I borrowed the book that it was only the story of his childhood and I kept thinking that he would soon get to when he started his musical career. . . .that didn’t happen. This book is solely the story of his childhood and I will now need to read Working Class Man, the second instalment of his autobiography, when it is released in October 2017, to read about his musical career.
The second book I read was Honolulu by Alan Brennert. I bought this book at the airport in Honolulu as I had finished my previous book while in Hawaii.
Honolulu is the rich, unforgettable story of a young “picture bride” who journeys to Hawaii in 1914 in search of a better life.
Instead of the affluent young husband and chance at an education that she has been promised, she is quickly married off to a poor, embittered laborer who takes his frustrations out on his new wife. Renaming herself Jin, she makes her own way in this strange land, finding both opportunity and prejudice. With the help of three of her fellow picture brides, Jin prospers along with her adopted city, now growing from a small territorial capital into the great multicultural city it is today. But paradise has its dark side, whether it’s the daily struggle for survival in Honolulu’s tenements, or a crime that will become the most infamous in the islands’ history…
I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction about mail-order-brides from Korea in the 1920’s. I loved the fact that many aspects of the story were based on actual events that had taken place in Honolulu. This book certainly gave me an insight into the background of how Honolulu is as it is today. It was also pleasing to be able to recognise places named in the novel.
I have just bought Molokai which was the first Hawaii book by this author. I will let you know how I like it when I am finished.