Monday, 11 February 2019

Book review : The Geography of Friendship - Sally Piper

The Geography of Friendship follows three old high-school friends, now in their thirties, as they recreate a hike through the Australian wilderness that they last undertook over twenty years ago, as carefree, innocent teenagers. Lisa, Samantha and Nicole all seem reluctant to take part in the trek, but they nevertheless set off, as a team, determined to make it through to the end, whatever it takes.

It turns out that this is much more than just a recreation of their happy, youthful adventures though. Just as they were back in their schooldays, Lisa is a fighter, Samantha a peacekeeper and Nicole a rule follower. None of them seems particularly happy with the way their life has turned out - a bitter divorce, an unhappy marriage, unsatisfactory relations with their kids, ... - but how much of this is due to their earlier trip, and will a revisit sort things out or make things worse?

The novel uses a double timeline, revealing more and more details of what went on on that earlier trip as they make their way along the trails. As a mother of teenage daughters, I felt instantly on edge as I witnessed their carefree, overly confident attitude as they set out on a five day trip, with rucksacks on their back and no plans for keeping themselves safe. These days, everyone would have mobile phones, but back in the good old days, they were completely on their own, with just their brains, teamwork and hopefully a bit of good luck to see them through safe and sound.

This would be a great title for a book club to read, as I'm sure modern women would quite possibly react to it in a different way to the older generations (like me !). It could be seen as an important story for our time, in the advent of the #metoo movement and women’s increasing awareness of the cultural and societal forces that limit their free movement, or maybe a tale of over-confident, bolshy young girls who get themselves into trouble through their own stupidity and brashness.

It's an interesting read, either way, with characters who have a universal appeal, despite the Australian setting. It was a Women's Weekly Australia Book Club Great Read and I can see it being equally popular in the UK.

star rating : 4.5/5

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 Feb. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1789550181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1789550184
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book, in order to share my honest review.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a good read. You're right that women readers of different ages would have different viewpoints on teenage girls going hiking.


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