Sunday, January 20, 2013

Recommendation: '15 Days Without A Head' by Dave Cousins

15 Days Without A Head 

Laurence Roach is fifteen-years-old and while he "should" be totally self absorbed, hanging with his mates, big noting about his exploits and daydreaming about girls, he occupied the role of holding his family together.

Laurence is the buffer for his half brother Jay, who at six years old doesn't understand why Mum's mood oscillates between sentimental and blind rage, probably too young to recognise that the distinctive "perfume" and slurred speech are in fact the hallmarks of a damaging relationship with alcohol. Laurence is used to being the sensible one, making sure Jay gets to bed on time, and magically conjuring up something for dinner, even when the fridge is so bare you can see its ribs, or dinner means mould scraped of toast and covered in jam.

 Laurence and Jay have already been separated once by family services when mum was deemed temporarily unfit and he has vowed it is not going to happen again. Just how long can he hold it together when Mum fails to return after a bender and the days begin to stack up, five, then fifteen days? The couch has been upturned for spare change and Laurence's stomach is so empty it sounds like a wailing banshee, meanwhile noisy neighbours and a little brother who is growing increasingly fractious threaten to expose their adult free existence.

Narrated with humour and pathos and the mysterious question of just where Mum has disappeared to, this novel is both tender and funny and manages to avoid dwelling on the painful reality of being thrust into the role of grownup and care giver at an age where most others around you are concerned with scoping out fit girls.

~ Sue (Central Library).


  1. I enjoyed this book :)


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