A Fortunate Life: Edition for Young Readers by A. B. Facey
They say the past is another country, and that was never more true than for this new young reader’s edition of the Australian classic A Fortunate Life. Albert Facey’s simple recounting of childhood and youth more than a hundred years ago takes place in an Australia that is scarcely recognisable today.
Young readers 10+ will be enthralled by the adventures of young Albert. This is an extraordinary life: escaping cruel employers, managing a farm on his own at 14, boxing his way around Australia, building railways and soldiering. The scenes where Albert joins a cattledroving team across Western Australia are particularly vivid and exciting.
But readers will also be moved when they notice what young Albert lacks: a family to provide real emotional support, a sense of home, and the chance to attend school. The teenage Albert saw early action at Gallipoli, and readers might reflect on the personal cost of war: the energetic, restless teenager returns broken, though he scarcely admits it, to work as a tram conductor and a tram driver.
Nine months after A Fortunate Life was published in 1982, Albert Facey died. But he created an indelible memory of a life in Australia and what it was like for one boy growing up a hundred years ago. A new generation of readers now has the chance to travel back in time.