1975, Western Sydney. A street where neighbours keep an eye on everyone else’s business.
A boy and his mum—and a family secret, barely hidden.
Devon Destri flies under the radar. He doesn’t talk—calls himself ‘hard of speaking’—and does nothing to correct any assumptions of his low intelligence. If no one knows otherwise, no one will expect anything of him, and maybe he won’t need to expect anything of himself. Only his fiercely loyal friend, Big Tammy, and his neighbour, Krenek, know that Great Expectations is his favourite book, or that he can read at all.
But when the chilling revelation of his mother’s past unexpectedly blows open his view of himself, and of her, Devon realises he can have great expectations after all.
First, though, he has a score to settle.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
My expectations for this book were initially neither high nor low, but “expect the unexpected” as they used to say during the Inquisition. Despite being set in a bleak semi-industrial suburb of Sydney, the story and characters are mostly warm and endearing. But best of all, the tale also sets a high bar in black humour, thanks to the exploits and crazy schemes of remedial student Devon and his neighbourhood acquaintances, friends and antagonists. Beautifully written and captures the heart and soul of the suburbs in the 1970s.
State Library of South Australia, Australia