Was there really a time before Avocados?
Yes apparently there was such a time, can you even imagine it??
I enjoyed this book and kept reading interesting bits out to my husband, before he told me that he’d read it himself, so could I not share all the good bits along the way!
As a child during the years of this book, 1960s and 70s, I remember lots of these happenings, but with perspective and age now, it appears they perhaps weren’t quite the heady days we remember. Richard Glover has covered so much in this book, attitudes to women, parenting styles, food, anyone who was different, politics, history…the list is endless.
It was fun reading and looking back. I enjoyed his research findings and thinking about the way things have changed in the decades since the 1960s. Mainly for the better I will add!
I can’t wait to give it to my daughters to read, they probably won’t believe half of it.
The official blurb reads like this:
A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be – and just how far we have come.
‘It was simpler time’. We had more fun back then’. ‘Everyone could afford a house’.
There’s plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like?
In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey to an almost unrecognisable Australia. It’s a vivid portrait of a quite peculiar land: a place that is scary and weird, dangerous and incomprehensible, and, now and then, surprisingly appealing.
It’s the Australia of his childhood. The Australia of the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Let’s break the news now: they didn’t have avocado.
It’s a place of funny clothing and food that was appalling, but amusingly so. It is also the land of staggeringly awful attitudes – often enshrined in law – towards anybody who didn’t fit in.
The Land Before Avocado will make you laugh and cry, feel angry and inspired. And leave you wondering how bizarre things were, not so long ago.
Most of all, it will make you realise how far we’ve come – and how much further we can go.
Like Richard Glover, I also grew up in the Land Before Avocado (although I am younger than him – I thought I’d just point that out).
Who would like this book?
I have read a few other books by Richard Glover and always enjoy his weekly radio show and his sense of humour, so I was looking forward to reading this one.
If you find yourself unbelieving of a time before there was avocado, then I suggest you read this book!
If you were a child or teenager during the 60 and 70s in Australia or a parent during this time, you’ll definitely have flashbacks! I know I did 🙂
If you’re interested in history, even recent history, then you’ll probably enjoy this.
What scared me the most was how so much has changed in just a few decades and that I’ve lived through these changes. I’m not even that old!! I was gobsmacked by many of the things that went on back then and angered too, if I’m honest.
Married women unable to get home loans on their own; divorce statistics; the invention of the wine cask; telephones and not just mobile phones; the attitudes to single mothers; the environmental changes; basic water and sewage improvements (I can still remember having an outside toilet for goodness sake); attitudes to drink driving, smoking and al fresco dining and then all the immigration debates….
From the book:
It’s natural to look back at one’s younger years through rosy spectacles. For most of us it was the last time we were attractive, wrinkle free and had knees that didn’t crack. But what was the wider society like? What were it’s values?
The Australia of my youth had many virtues. To cite just three:
- None of the negative side of the internet – the whole body-shaming, anxiety-inducing, time-destroying project of social media – occasionally lifting our mood, more often depressing it.
- No ‘gig-economy’ – that phrase people use when they are trying to create a hip feel around the destruction of workers’ rights
- House were a lot cheaper. A lot cheaper. No, really: a lot.
But as I surf in this area of happy nostalgia, I wonder: how does this period really compare to today? Have we simply forgotten what life was like? Should we more grateful for the changes that have come to Australia in the decades since?
The Australia of my youth also had many vices. To cite just three:
- Banks, by and large, wouldn’t lend money to women – not unless they had a male guarantor.
- Life was difficult if you were different in any way.
- If you were a child, no one would take your side.
A highly recommended read! When I finished this book I tweeted about it and was thrilled to get a response from Richard himself!
Recommend reading out the particularly horrific bits: well worth it for the look of total disbelief, and perhaps even sympathy!
— richard glover (@rgloveroz) November 11, 2018
I repeat my line from above: I can’t wait to give it to my daughters to read, they probably won’t believe half of it – but some sympathy for what I had to endure would be good!
Let me know if you’ve read it yet and what you thought of it.
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