A moving and explosive tale about what happens when tradition and the need to belong collide. Frankie Rescio is struggling with the death of his sister. Next door, Lochie Marsh is about to have his world invaded by his estranged, pregnant half-sister and her layabout boyfriend. Despite tensions simmering just below the surface for both boys and their families, they form a bond that connects their different worlds. Until tribal lores threaten to bring everything crashing down.
Frankie’s story is set in inner Melbourne in about the 1970’s or 80’s. Frankie is born into an Italian migrant family and all that entails - hard work, respect, family and loyalty.
When the Marsh family move in next door, they couldn’t be more different. But Frankie quickly becomes friends with Lochie and their friendship grows, and runs deep. And that is really the case with both families in this story - as Frankie’s family form bonds through kindness with their neighbors.
This is a wonderful exploration of who your ‘tribe’ can be. Primarily, we have our family and they can be very different to us, but they are our tribe anyway. But we also have our friends, who might be similar or different but are the group that look out for one another. The group might have a leader, sometime challenges to that leadership, but inevitably contains those in the group that you are close to and those that you might not even really be mates with.
Australian author Archimede Fusillo’s in-depth look at the workings of both families and their friendships is brilliantly written, and made me reflect on many similar experiences and memories from that period of my life.
It is both a reflection of all things that can be good in Australia, and a cautionary word for things that can easily go wrong.
Full of tragedy, mateship, honour, tradition (including a big Italian wedding), respect, and family ties this is a fantastic read for all those aged 14+ years old.
It is sure to be a favourite for teenage boys finding their way in life.
Reviewed by Rob