As a child/teenager growing up in the hills of Adelaide with chickens, veggies, strangling, delicious blackberry plants and paddocks full of cows (with the occasional kangaroo hopping through) I dreamt of the concrete jungle depicted in books like Looking for Alibrandi. When I moved to Melbourne ten years ago, I felt like I was finally home.
Burning Eddy felt like a different kind of home to me as I was reading it, that home of my childhood. Scot Gardner has a way of describing things that are so familiar that I’m catapulted straight back to the moment I first mistook an angry koala for a wild boar, my countless run ins with hairy huntsmen and forgotten tin sheds surrounded by brushland and shrub.
I read this while researching an article I’m writing for VATE – recommending complementary texts to the Australian Curriculum. It’s an excellent text to tie in with the sustainability topic, as it encourages a deep understanding of Australian growth and development, of industry and mining vs the sustainability of our natural habitat, and the natural spread of plant and animal life as well as the symbiotic relationship between the two.
As always, Scot Gardner’s writing is exquisitely stripped back. There’s a raw honesty to his writing that is compelling as a reader. And underlying the quirky characters of Eddy, the sweetness of Dan’s younger brother Toby, the teen angst of his sister Kat, and the pureness of Dan himself, there is the shadow of hurt and cruelty in other characters, and always the unpredictability of the bush.
Burning Eddy isn’t as long as some of SG’s more recent books, but contains a far larger story than the size indicates. Every character has weight, and every name is memorable. Although this isn’t a new book, it’s one I highly recommend readers revisit.
Breaking up all this is the wonderful Dutch woman -Eddy. She’s the kind of unexpected character that those familiar with Scot’s work will love. A breath of colour and surprise, she cuts through the dust and