Useful by Debra Oswald
It’s a rare thing indeed when Ms A and I are in sync with our book choices… we are mostly poles apart in what we choose to read and review. But in February, the literary moons obviously aligned and we chose similar titles – meaning ones that were light on the big words, heavy on the easy-ready. That is not to say these books aren’t good! They are !
And so to my review of Useful, a book by one of my favourite Australian scriptwriters Debra Oswald. If you know Offspring the series, you will know Debra Oswald’s brilliance (and if you don’t know the series, get on it folks, pronto!). Needless to say, as an Offspring fan, I was gagging to read this and when I picked it up, I put tools down and dived right in.
The story is about Sullivan Moss and we are introduced to him as he attempts suicide. He fails, ends up in hospital and decides to turn his tragic, booze-fuelled life around by donating a kidney. And so begins his journey to become a donor and make amends with all and sundry along the way – and somehow while doing it, he accidentally forges a brave new life for himself.
It is a jolly tale, achingly sad and funny at once. All the characters are so flawed and still so likeable. Oswald understands human frailty and triumph and creates real people who mess up and make up in equal measure. Her skill and deft touch is impressive. She brings people to life and mixes them together to make a perfectly brewed tale. And this is what Useful is. A lovely little romp that draws you in deeper with each page and when you close the book it will leave you wishing, so badly, that Offspring was not in fact finished so you could hang out with Debra Oswald’s characters some more….
But that is my 2 cents worth.