Source- Review copy/ Hachette Australia
Synopsis: Fiona O’Loughlin is certainly the funniest (and possibly one of the busiest) working mothers in Australia today: a stand-up comedian based in Alice Springs and Adelaide, she is on the road for most of the year, doing live performances, plus regular television appearances. Fiona has also had successful shows at the Edinburgh and Adelaide fringe festivals, the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
This book contains her stories – funny and sometimes sad stories about her upbringing as part of a large Irish-Catholic family on a wheat farm in South Australia, her chaotic and disorganised family life ever since, living in Alice Springs and making it as a stand-up comedian. She also talks of a darker side of the life of many performers – alcohol.
This book is for anyone who likes to laugh (and cry), who wants to read about a woman living her life on her terms.
Review: I am a huge Australian stand-up comedy fan; I love the comical storytelling and having a good belly laugh. I enjoy every day life occurrences that have a witty spin on them and to be able to say ‘that’s so true’ in between gasps of laughter. So, when the opportunity came up to review Fiona O’Loughlin’s memoir I was very excited. I’ve seen plenty of her stand-up at comedy festivals and know she is always doing jokes about her kids and family life that I found quite hilarious but also a little wrong at the same time. I also knew she had public admitted to being an alcoholic, so I was intrigued by what would arise in her memoir.
Sometimes, memoirs can be a little slow-going but I actually read this book quite quickly because I found Fiona’s life really interesting. It’s certainly not laughable the whole way through and that would have been useful because life isn’t always fun and games. Fiona was raised in a Catholic family in a small country town, fell in love and moved to Alice Springs where she had many children in rapid succession and learnt very early on what it was like to live as an isolated housewife in rural Australia.
I could connect with Fiona’s grief over losing the lives of pets, friends and how she found the strength to move on from these experiences. I particularly found interesting her family relationships and the role she took on in her family. She certainly broke the mould by moving away and becoming a comedian. It was obvious; the alcoholism was not an easy topic to broach but she touched on it just enough to show she acknowledged this troublesome time but not too much to dwell on it with self-pity. What I loved the most about Me of the Never Never were the small town stories, I have always been drawn to small towns and the culture and her naivety when she moved away to start a new life was fascinating. Fiona has certainly worked very hard to find her place in the comedy industry which is hard enough for a woman, let alone a mother of five from Central Australia.
If real-life issues turn you away from a comedian’s memoir, then you will be pleasantly surprised to find plenty of funny stories that will make your stomach rumble. My partner asked me on several occasions, what are you laughing at? I would just show him the cover of the book and he replied, oh yeah that’s right you’re reading about Fiona.
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