05 February 2009

Foreign Correspondence

Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All OverI think I've now read all of Geraldine Brooks' books, both fiction and non-fiction. This one is a memoir of her growing up in Australia and especially her pen pals. Like all of Brooks' writing, this book is interesting and well written, which I really think is too a unique combination in a journalist. However, it wasn't really what the back of the book said it would be. Most of the book focused on Brooks' letters to and from her American pen pal, with only short mentions of her other pen pals. At the end Brooks manages to track down the old penpals, but that's hardly the focus of the book.

Brooks' mentions Jill Ker Conway a couple of times, which was nice since I've read Conway's memoir of Australia too. Interesting comparisons there.

I was thinking this book would certainly count for Melissa's challenge, but since it turned out to be rather different that I was expecting, it's a little less sure. But I think it does.


  1. Aw, I'll count it. (I've been counting everything else!) I like Geraldine Brooks -- and I agree, she's a good writer -- but I think Nine Parts of Desire is still my favorite of hers. Haven't read People of the Book (yet; it's upstairs waiting for me), though.

  2. People of the Book is probably my favorite, but I did like Year of Wonders. There were things I liked about Nine Parts of Desire, but I can't recommend it. It's not balanced.

  3. I totally love Geraldine Brooks. People of the Book is on my TBR.

  4. Foreign Correspondence is my favorite Brooks book -- maybe because I saw myself in so much of it. I had a ton of foreign penpals when I was a teen, and tracked one down (an Aussie) when I was in my twenties.

    Year of Wonder was a great book until the end, which was creepy and just didn't work for me -- it didn't have anything to do with the plague and was just plain dumb (IMHO :-)

    Nine Parts of Desire -- I didn't/don't know enough to know about balance, but it was eye opening and a fascinating read. I especially like that she turned a cultural journalistic disadvantage (being a woman) into an advantage (being able to cover a topic men can't).