Wednesday, March 2, 2011
A Fortunate Life
This is a very well-known book in Australia, and I am embarrassed to say that this is the first time I've read it. I think it should be a compulsory text to study at school in Australia, especially in Western Australia.
Set mainly in the late 1800s, early 1900s, it is the true story of Bert Facey, whose father died when Bert was young. His mother subsequently met and married a man who did not want anything to do with the seven children from her first marriage, so Bert was raised by his grandparents. His family were very poor and he started his first job at eight years old!
The book is quite fast paced, as Bert moves through a succession of jobs, including farming, droving, and helping to construct railways in Western Australia. He even travels with a show, for awhile, as the boxing attraction. Bert shares his harrowing experiences as a soldier in the first World War, and describes the romantic way he met his wife.
Many of Bert Facey's experiences were in harsh conditions with difficult people, but his tenacity and many skills helped him to succeed in his different pursuits. A Fortunate Life is an inspiring read, and leaves you feeling that he lived an adventurous and fulfilling life. I felt quite patriotic reading about the early 1900s in Western Australia, my home state.