Reviewed by Robert at Angus & Robertson:
Was the life of a baby boomer an idyllic paradise of cheap housing and carefree plenty? Or was it a place of horrific dangers, bad taste, horrible clothing, and food from hell? In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes on the boomers’ memories filtered through rose-tinted glasses and challenges the grudging envy of millennials with some seriously disturbing facts about 60’s and 70’s-era Australia.
Glover says that “this book is largely a brutal attack on the past, challenging us to overcome our nostalgia and instead be optimistic about how it might continue to improve.” To this end he takes us on a journey through the appalling sexism, racism, and rampant inequality of the Australia of the past, a country seemingly free of social justice. A shock of recognition awaits older readers, and a disbelieving disgust will arise from the young. This frank and witty book strikingly contrasts the Australia of then and now, highlighting our rapid progress.
Much of the narrative is brilliantly humorous and autobiographical, offset by parts that are necessarily dark and chastening. This is a book best shared across generations, a call to the young to grasp the torch of progress rather than let it slip. We have come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go.
L.P. Hartley famously wrote that “The past is foreign country. They do things differently there”. The Land Before Avocado may well be the travel guide to our past, a place to visit quickly, and then escape.
The new book from the bestselling author of Flesh Wounds.
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 60's 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 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, be 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.