There are serious growing pains when teenager Ford McCullen feels his life being pulled in many directions at once.
Sixteen-year-old Ford McCullen lives in Coburg with his Mum and grandparents, Noonie and Pop. When his paternal grandmother, Queenie, comes into some money, she gifts him an enrollment at St Anthony’s in posh Toorak. Shuttling between the two suburbs, his violin in tow, Ford cops some flack from his Coburg mates. The violin playing is endured to keep his family happy, but is seen as pretentious by Coburg standards.
Ford is muddling through life, carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Some of his friendships are getting complicated, he longs for a girl named Ellie, his mother has serious mental health issues and his relationship with his father, who left his mother for another man, is strained. He sees his father as remote and disinterested, making Ford wonder where he fits in, if at all.
Tobias McCorkell’s debut novel, Everything in its Right Place, is a funny, heart wrenching and refreshingly frank portrayal of troubled youth. Ford’s story of increasing isolation and disconnection is told in the loutish street talk of boozing and brawling teenage boys, yet is smartly written and organised. A coming of age story that devastates with its sense of grief and loneliness.
Everything in its Right Place, by Tobias McCorkell. Published by Transit Lounge. $29.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books