I have recently had the task of reviewing this memoir by Craig Sherborne. I only have myself to blame, since I chose it myself from a list of options – and I was enticed by someone the publisher had dragged in who said that it was a ‘masterpiece’. Well, masterpiece ain’t what it used to be.
The book is a memoir – set in Sydney where Sherborne lives and goes to a swanky private school. And it is also set on a ‘large’ dairy farm in New Zealand, where the family spends their holidays building a legacy for the family. Here, they manage to antagonize a whole community by flaunting their wealth and looking down their noses at the way things are done.
The thing is, the memoir could have been funny. Sherborne’s observations of his parents, Feet and The Duke, are achingly scathing and pointed. What stops it from being funny though, is the remembered teenage boy himself. I found that I intensely disliked him. To the point where I really didn’t feel any sympathy for him at all, and his could-have-been funny observations of his family became just petty insults from a spoiled rich kid brat.
Sometimes, if a protagonist is unlikeable, they can redeem themselves in the eyes of their audience by having some sort of pathos – I’m thinking Holden Caufield here – but this guy has none of that. He is just plain unlikeable.
I can’t recommend this book at all – sorry Sherborne, but I kind of thought it was muck.