The Aussie family is in crisis. Well, not all of them. There are a thousand bleak books about Australian families - rent asunder by divorce, drugs, children in hoodies and the sheer horror of being alive. This book is not one of them. For once, Australian family life is being celebrated. Why Men Are Necessary and More News From Nowhere is a hilarious - and optimistic - book about Australian family life. It's about the way most of us live - and the wild comedy of being part of a healthy, loving, back-talking, buoyant family.
Meet the sexy and feisty Jocasta; confront teenage rebellion in the form of a fish called Wanda; do battle with magpies the size of small fighter jets; and try to work out which font you use when speaking the language of love. In Richard's stories everyday life becomes vivid, magical and laugh-out-loud funny.
Richard Glover is the author of twelve books, including the bestsellers In Bed with Jocasta, The Dag's Dictionary and Desperate Husbands. He writes a weekly column for the Sydney Morning Herald and presents the comedy show Thank God It's Friday on ABC local radio.
Why Men are Necessary and More News From Nowhere
Author: Richard Glover
Question: Why did you originally decide to write Why Men are Necessary and More News From Nowhere?
Richard Glover: It is a very positive book about family life and I think it is very optimistic. The world is full of these very bleak accounts of dysfunctional families full of divorce, drugs and children wearing hoodies and that's all fine, but it doesn't reflect the way for most people. Families are really positive things in our lives and certainly they are full of dispensation, tension and arguments with teenagers and all that; despite all that there is a whole lot of woman who still like the man they shacked up with and there is a whole lot of men, despite it all, that still take great delight in the woman they have ended up living up with. There are also a whole lot of people who despite all the things in popular culture about how we all dislike our teenage children, in fact there are many of us who look in the mirror each morning and wonder 'how did they end up so good looking?'
Question: What types of stories can we expect in Why Men are Necessary and More News From Nowhere?
Richard Glover: There funny stories; I think the only way you could write about all this is through humour; otherwise I think it would be too sickly sweet. The genre is comedy and I try to capture the tiny comic and sometimes bizarre moments in day-to-day life. The best response that I ever get is 'it sounded like you had a tape recorder in our kitchen' or 'it sounded like you had a tape recorder in our car'. If the stories are worth anything, it is because a lot of people, when they read them, feel like I am writing about their lives and the lives that most of us live.
It seems to me that there are a whole lot of writers who like to write about the top end of town, about millionaires and there is a whole lot of writers who enjoy writing about the bottom end of town, the Underbelly series and crime and violence; not many people want to write about the lives that most of us live. I have never thought it was beneath me to write this; the people that think the suburbs are boring have never been there.
I think the whole point about the mainstream family life is that it is more colourful than people think! The main character in this book is an incredibly feisty, take-no-crap, woman- she is certainly based on my real-life partner, Deborah; although the character is even more feisty and sharp-tongued. The book is a celebration of that part of Australian womanhood; I think the female character is a real Australian type. One of the great things about Australian woman is that they're not demure and put upon; they're strong verging on the stroppy in a fabulous way! The main character in the book is a very vivid version of that type of take-no-rubbish Australian woman who stands up for herself.
Question: Did you do much research in writing this book?
Richard Glover: The book is based on my life, really. The books that are based on the tiny details of everyday life have to be based on your notebook. You have to wander around and capture the moments that are going to chime with other people. The main aim is to make people laugh and you have to choose the moments that are shared with everybody, the fine moments that everyone else will know what you're talking about and give them a laugh due to recognition.
Interview by Brooke Hunter