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Car Crash: A Memoir

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What is it like to survive a crash that kills your best friends, and how do you move on? From an exceptional debut writer comes a stunning memoir about grief, perseverance and courage. At seventeen, Lech Blaine walked away unscratched from a car crash that killed three of his friends and left two in comas. On a May night in 2009, seven boys in Toowoomba, Queensland, piled in What is it like to survive a crash that kills your best friends, and how do you move on? From an exceptional debut writer comes a stunning memoir about grief, perseverance and courage. At seventeen, Lech Blaine walked away unscratched from a car crash that killed three of his friends and left two in comas. On a May night in 2009, seven boys in Toowoomba, Queensland, piled into a car. They never arrived at their destination. The driver made a routine error, leading to a head-on collision. In the aftermath, rumours about speed and drink-driving erupted. There was intense scrutiny from the media and police. Lech used alcohol to numb his grief and social media to show stoicism, while secretly spiralling towards depression and disgrace. This is a riveting account of family, friendship, grief and love after tragedy. In a country where class and sport dominate, and car crashes compete with floods and pandemics for headlines, our connection with others is what propels us on. Heartbreaking and darkly hilarious, Car Crash is a story for our times.


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What is it like to survive a crash that kills your best friends, and how do you move on? From an exceptional debut writer comes a stunning memoir about grief, perseverance and courage. At seventeen, Lech Blaine walked away unscratched from a car crash that killed three of his friends and left two in comas. On a May night in 2009, seven boys in Toowoomba, Queensland, piled in What is it like to survive a crash that kills your best friends, and how do you move on? From an exceptional debut writer comes a stunning memoir about grief, perseverance and courage. At seventeen, Lech Blaine walked away unscratched from a car crash that killed three of his friends and left two in comas. On a May night in 2009, seven boys in Toowoomba, Queensland, piled into a car. They never arrived at their destination. The driver made a routine error, leading to a head-on collision. In the aftermath, rumours about speed and drink-driving erupted. There was intense scrutiny from the media and police. Lech used alcohol to numb his grief and social media to show stoicism, while secretly spiralling towards depression and disgrace. This is a riveting account of family, friendship, grief and love after tragedy. In a country where class and sport dominate, and car crashes compete with floods and pandemics for headlines, our connection with others is what propels us on. Heartbreaking and darkly hilarious, Car Crash is a story for our times.

30 review for Car Crash: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Neale

    4.5 Stars My review is published in the April edition of goodREADING magazine.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Natalie M

    A memoir by a talented writer who is also the survivor of a horrific car crash. I picked this book up because I remembered the news story of the 2009 triple fatality in Toowoomba, Queensland. I suppose I started out a bit like someone slowing down to see an accident but this was much more than gory details and depressing aftermaths. Blaine's experience is not new, but how he writes about it is definitely not the way I've read about it before. It was enlightening to read about how life unfolds afte A memoir by a talented writer who is also the survivor of a horrific car crash. I picked this book up because I remembered the news story of the 2009 triple fatality in Toowoomba, Queensland. I suppose I started out a bit like someone slowing down to see an accident but this was much more than gory details and depressing aftermaths. Blaine's experience is not new, but how he writes about it is definitely not the way I've read about it before. It was enlightening to read about how life unfolds after such a seemingly meaningless loss of life. Blaine is mature beyond his years and manages to encompass thoughts and feelings so many survivors could identify with and how others are left to support them. The role of social media, when tragedies and dramas unfold, is captured by Blainein an introspective, first-hand way and one we all need to reconsider our roles in. If this is one aspect you take away from the read, it is worth your time. Living vicariously through a drama on social media is not what anyone should be doing. The search for answers and reasons will never be over for anyone in this type of situation but acknowledging the need for support is another important message in the memoir. An insight into grief, loss, and how to just get up each day is delivered with a typically Aussie dose of black humour. The role of family, sport and class is also analysed with accuracy. I valued the Aussie references, the larrikin prose and his tougher than nails family - no gilded cages here. Only a survivor of such a horror will be able to say with accuracy whether this is an honest view of survivor’s guilt, but it felt authentic, soul-searching (infinite and unmeasurable) as a reader. 'Car Crash' is so much more than a car accident; it's about coming-of-age, loss, pasts, presents and futures. A haunting, moving and memorable memoir with several important messages.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elsie

    It took me a moment to settle into this one. But soon, characters unfolded, as Blaine unfolded himself, and I realised my initial frustrations with character & place descriptions were rooted in helplessness & recognition. The way Toowoomba is described reminds me a bit of where I grew up, in Alice Springs. And in country towns, experiencing the grief of losing young people in tragic accidents is a sort of rite of passage. This book captures that grief. The difficulty of finding yourself in a pla It took me a moment to settle into this one. But soon, characters unfolded, as Blaine unfolded himself, and I realised my initial frustrations with character & place descriptions were rooted in helplessness & recognition. The way Toowoomba is described reminds me a bit of where I grew up, in Alice Springs. And in country towns, experiencing the grief of losing young people in tragic accidents is a sort of rite of passage. This book captures that grief. The difficulty of finding yourself in a place grappling with collective mourning, while navigating a confused identity. Brilliant endorsement of embracing psychiatric help too. A great memoir!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Blaine is a lovely writer and this is a truly compelling and well-written memoir. I really loved the way, and the complexity with which, Blaine talks about class. My most common complaint about #auslit is most writers’ refusal to even acknowledge class. Modern complications of masculinity in the face of trauma are laid bare beautifully. I would have liked to know more about the driver of the car, Dom, as we only really meet him at the trial for the crash that left three teenagers dead. But that’ Blaine is a lovely writer and this is a truly compelling and well-written memoir. I really loved the way, and the complexity with which, Blaine talks about class. My most common complaint about #auslit is most writers’ refusal to even acknowledge class. Modern complications of masculinity in the face of trauma are laid bare beautifully. I would have liked to know more about the driver of the car, Dom, as we only really meet him at the trial for the crash that left three teenagers dead. But that’s a minor point about an otherwise very impressive memoir.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pauline [paulineisreading]

    CAR CRASH BY LECH BLAINE caught my attention from the get go and it’ll now no doubt be a go-to recommendation of mine. Yes, i did pick it up wanting to read about Blaine’s experience as a tragic car crash survivor, but what caught me off guard was the style and quality of his writing. It’s the kind that i absolutely love - pared-back, contemplative, nuanced and exhibits an incredible amount of talent. This stunning memoir looks at Blaine’s life in the wake of an accident that would define his lif CAR CRASH BY LECH BLAINE caught my attention from the get go and it’ll now no doubt be a go-to recommendation of mine. Yes, i did pick it up wanting to read about Blaine’s experience as a tragic car crash survivor, but what caught me off guard was the style and quality of his writing. It’s the kind that i absolutely love - pared-back, contemplative, nuanced and exhibits an incredible amount of talent. This stunning memoir looks at Blaine’s life in the wake of an accident that would define his life from the moment it took place. One 2009 night in Toowoomba, Queensland, 7 boys got into a car that’s designed to only hold 5 passengers. The car never made it to its destination. Some of them died on impact, some ended up in a coma, some had to fight for their lives - but miraculously, Blaine walked away only with minor injuries. But, of course, the impact of the accident doesn’t end there. What follows were eventual court proceedings and scrutiny from the media as well as the general public, as rumours about the accident began to crop up. Whispers started to travel - were alcohol or drugs involved? Were they speeding? Or was it simply a result of human error? Blaine tells his story in a matter-of-fact way that also shows such vulnerability, which will make it near impossible for you not to sympathise. The way he talks to grief, toxic masculinity, survivor’s guilt, and the aftermath of trauma is so perceptive and truly captivating. The topic of toxic masculinity in particular was a standout for me as i don’t often see this talked about so candidly, especially from an Australian context. How it’s deeply ingrained and internalised within men and how Blaine sought to tackle this, and other matters, through therapy. Another element i appreciated was how he interweaved his views on class and politics - drawing from his childhood growing up in regional Australia, through to his experience moving away from it. As you can tell, i have an endless amount of good things to say about this one. Thank you to @lechblaine for sharing your story, and to @blackincbooks for kindly sending a copy my way.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sue Gerhardt Griffiths

    Not too crazy about the writing style, tone and voice in this memoir. I found it too poetic for a book covering such a delicate, tragic subject matter and the many metaphors and his views on politics kind of ruined it for me too. I prefer reading memoirs that are a little more straightforward.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    This book is extraordinary. Initially, I was hesitant to read it. I mean, who wants to be spend time contemplating the excesses and risk taking of privileged young men that ruins (and ends) lives? A friend insisted it wasn't that and I'm glad I listened. This is a coming of age of story where the cataclysmic event is a fatal head-on collision. All the angst and aspirations of youth are amplified by this enormous experience. Family dysfunction and undeveloped emotional maturity are the only scaff This book is extraordinary. Initially, I was hesitant to read it. I mean, who wants to be spend time contemplating the excesses and risk taking of privileged young men that ruins (and ends) lives? A friend insisted it wasn't that and I'm glad I listened. This is a coming of age of story where the cataclysmic event is a fatal head-on collision. All the angst and aspirations of youth are amplified by this enormous experience. Family dysfunction and undeveloped emotional maturity are the only scaffold available and they are inadequate. The question I am left with is what Lech Blaine would have written if this hadn't happened to him. I look forward to reading anything and everything else by him. His writing so good!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yee

    This is a different narrative style for a memoir of a tragedy. It was written with some sense of humour and in a slightly light-hearted manner. I sense there is a touch of sarcasm or probably mocking the media and other teenagers trying to take advantage of the tragedy to get attention for themselves. I feel writing a book about the tragedy is another way to express his inner feelings, which probably difficult to just tell it out to others. I hope Lech will live better than the day before as tim This is a different narrative style for a memoir of a tragedy. It was written with some sense of humour and in a slightly light-hearted manner. I sense there is a touch of sarcasm or probably mocking the media and other teenagers trying to take advantage of the tragedy to get attention for themselves. I feel writing a book about the tragedy is another way to express his inner feelings, which probably difficult to just tell it out to others. I hope Lech will live better than the day before as time goes by, even though the tragedy will be painful to remember but difficult to forget for the rest of his life. Book Review: Car Crash: A Memoir by Lech Blaine.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne Coburn

    Review originally posted on the 4ZZZ Book Reviews Facebook page: Car Crash is a bildungsroman; a memoir of Lech Blaine’s formative years and changes in psychology. It’s also exactly what it says on the tin, a story of a car crash and how it changed everything for Blaine. Lech Blaine challenges notions of bravery and bravado in this book. While a gut response might be to tell him that he’s brave for sharing this story, or even brave for surviving, Blaine has not written this book as a means of ac Review originally posted on the 4ZZZ Book Reviews Facebook page: Car Crash is a bildungsroman; a memoir of Lech Blaine’s formative years and changes in psychology. It’s also exactly what it says on the tin, a story of a car crash and how it changed everything for Blaine. Lech Blaine challenges notions of bravery and bravado in this book. While a gut response might be to tell him that he’s brave for sharing this story, or even brave for surviving, Blaine has not written this book as a means of acquiring our sympathy. The grief, anger and low points are graphically authentic. Lech Blaine is not the only person who undergoes a metamorphosis in ‘Car Crash.’ Masculinity and bravado are deconstructed for several characters in the book. Grief unravels and rethreads the fibres of Blaine, his family and friends. Consequently, the expectations for Blaine’s life (placed by himself and others) are severed, undone and rethreaded. Ideally, changing who we are should not come as a result of a tragic accident. But Lech Blaine’s account of grief and rock bottom is a powerful work. It’s also worth mentioning that Lech Blaine’s mastery of the English language is exquisite. His fluent grasp of the ‘ocker’ rural Queensland dialect is acutely interwoven with refined prose: a thesaurus washed down with a cold bottle of XXXX Gold. ‘Car Crash’ reminds us that even though grief and our feelings can be difficult to articulate, it’s important to be honest with people. Even if our feelings are misconstrued or if our memories are unreliable narrators. The book offers no closure or direct pearls of wisdom. Blaine is not didactic with his rhetoric, there is no ‘don’t drink and drive’ messaging. ‘Car Crash’ is a vivid portrait of the pain and absurdity of having your innocence and sense of normalcy ripped out from beneath you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Mason

    Maybe 3 1/2. I really wanted to like Lech more than I did. The crash and ensuing consequences were awful. Some quite poignant moments and lots of great metaphors and powerful symbolism, but I couldn’t quite get over the self-indulgence I felt at times. I did like his Dad. I felt he was well captured.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I read Lech’s memoir essay in the Griffith Review years ago and it blew me away. I remember at the time thinking I would make my kids read it before getting their license - maybe it should be mandatory reading for all teenagers. It was so gripping and confronting, you felt the loss of those boys. Lech’s book is riveting, such an honest and raw account of grief, and the sorrow and the shame of being the lucky survivor. It is pretty incredible to behold his honesty. The humour he uses to explore h I read Lech’s memoir essay in the Griffith Review years ago and it blew me away. I remember at the time thinking I would make my kids read it before getting their license - maybe it should be mandatory reading for all teenagers. It was so gripping and confronting, you felt the loss of those boys. Lech’s book is riveting, such an honest and raw account of grief, and the sorrow and the shame of being the lucky survivor. It is pretty incredible to behold his honesty. The humour he uses to explore his past is gorgeous and so Aussie it feels like being coated in Vegemite. The one thing that struck me with the book was the lack of exploration of the fact that the car was over loaded and the driver was inexperienced- not to attribute blame - but to warn others. It is not the first car to kill kids despite a lack of speed, booze and drugs - inexperience and overloading is just as destructive. But then maybe that wasn’t Lech’s part of the story to tell. I hope it ends up on the curriculum and all teenagers have an opportunity to reflect on the role of luck and how to keep it on side. Cudos to Lech for having the guts to write this book and put it all out there.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brigid O'Meara

    Beautifully written, tragic story. Thank you Lech for sharing this with the world. You’ll cry - obviously - and laugh (diagnosis of toxic masculinity?) and read this in one sitting.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Petrillo

    I loved the honesty in the telling of this young mans struggle to acknowledge the grief and depression he suffered after the life changing accident that took the lives of 3 of his friends and changed the lives of all involved. His writing comes straight from the heart.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jaimi Lowerson

    Stop what you are doing and read/listen/buy/borrow this book right now.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Moxi 🛼

    An incredibly moving account of the aftermath of surviving a fatal car crash. Depression, survivor’s guilt and trauma with no redemption are the reality of surviving something that horrific.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was my first ever memoir, and first non-fiction read in a very long time. I have a feeling that this fact may have swayed me to expect different (see also: unrealistic) ideas as to what this book would be about. I think I expected more focus on the car crash & immediate impact on the affected people, but I suppose it can only be given in so much detail. Once I got past what I thought this book would be about, I was able to really enjoy what this book actually entailed. There were aspects of This was my first ever memoir, and first non-fiction read in a very long time. I have a feeling that this fact may have swayed me to expect different (see also: unrealistic) ideas as to what this book would be about. I think I expected more focus on the car crash & immediate impact on the affected people, but I suppose it can only be given in so much detail. Once I got past what I thought this book would be about, I was able to really enjoy what this book actually entailed. There were aspects of this where the descriptive and poetic writing reminded of me Trent Dalton. The familiar places, experiences, and mentions of Queensland specific things was something I thoroughly enjoyed as it really added to the connection to the story for me, along with being a similar age to Lech. Also my family is heavily influenced by NRL so I loved all the comparisons and trips down memory lane there too. I would have liked an inclusion of deeper conversations with, or accounts of, fellow survivors and friends/family. Having said that, I do respect that this is Lech’s story. Seriously though, what a story. At the end of the book, Lech describes humans as ‘epic vessels of emotion’, which I thought was an excellent description, not only of humans, but of this book too.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Birch

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I consumed Car Crash in a day. I saw an ad for this book and I knew I had to read it. I hadn’t read a memoir about car accidents – perhaps The Vow by Krickitt and Kim Carpenter was the closest thing – though that book was more about Krickitt’s recovery and adjustment to a new life. There was something a little removed about The Vow – it was set in America and it happened a long time ago when big permed hair was in and the then-courting Carpenters had to run up huge long distance bills. Car Crash I consumed Car Crash in a day. I saw an ad for this book and I knew I had to read it. I hadn’t read a memoir about car accidents – perhaps The Vow by Krickitt and Kim Carpenter was the closest thing – though that book was more about Krickitt’s recovery and adjustment to a new life. There was something a little removed about The Vow – it was set in America and it happened a long time ago when big permed hair was in and the then-courting Carpenters had to run up huge long distance bills. Car Crash was written about a more recent event, a 2009 fatal car accident in Toowoomba and like many readers, I remembered the event being covered widely in the news. The story that Blaine shares isn’t necessarily a new one: country town rocked by an accident that claims the life of young people. Old enough to pensively reflect on it, and recent enough for the moment to be recalled by some of the Australian population makes it a good fit for today. Blaine’s focus on social media – from scrolling through memorial pages, worrying about what to write, deactivating his Facebook, and then having the courage to come back online again is relatable, and rarely written about by someone who doesn’t make their living from social media. During my (second) gap year from school I found myself entangled in car accident tales. I was in one and has physiotherapy for the next eighteen months. Mid-year I lost a classmate to an accident, and at the end of the year a friend of mine was involved in a serious accident. Like Blaine, I had looked for reasons and diagnoses. Doctors and psychologists didn’t even try a depression scale - and nothing I said seemed to suggest to anyone that I was holding onto some anxiety, no doubt partially caused by this ongoing carnage. News started to upset me, sometimes I’d watch the Victorian TAC ads on YouTube, confused and transfixed by what I saw – real grief, mixed with paid actors, showing what happens after the accidents had occurred. Blaine’s book showed a part of what happens next, after the after. He cycles through many different ways of dealing with grief: weight loss, spending his savings on a wardrobe, starting uni only to leave soon after, getting caught drink driving, and helping renovate a home with his father. There are the unexpected weights on Blaine’s shoulders: he suffers from survivor’s guilt, but also he finds the burden of being his parents’ only biological son difficult to bear. Being given role models like Bob Hawke and Banjo Patterson doesn’t always make it easy either. Blaine isn’t sure what kind of man he is – is he a larrikin, like his father would like him to be, or is he the artist that his mother wishes he is? Blaine’s book answers it for us – he truly is both. Car Crash is about a car accident, but it’s also about how Blaine comes of age. He never gives the accident a higher spiritual meaning, but at the same time, it creates a haunting backdrop to what could have been if the accident never occurred.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jayne Shelley

    Extremely well-written and engaging true story. Very emotional and I cried numerous times. I'm not sure if it was extra emotional because I remember it happening and one of the boys who died was from my town and we knew his parents. In the lead- up to the event I was still hoping as I read it that things would end differently. These boys were good kids, they weren't being silly, it was just an accident and that is the scariest thing of all - how quickly life can be amazing and then gone. I have Extremely well-written and engaging true story. Very emotional and I cried numerous times. I'm not sure if it was extra emotional because I remember it happening and one of the boys who died was from my town and we knew his parents. In the lead- up to the event I was still hoping as I read it that things would end differently. These boys were good kids, they weren't being silly, it was just an accident and that is the scariest thing of all - how quickly life can be amazing and then gone. I have two teenage boys and I worry about their future every single day. It must have been harrowing, for everyone involved.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leeann Nolan

    I happened to finish reading this book on the 12th anniversary of the car crash that author, Lech Blaine survived. Seven young boys, all in their final year of high school, were in the car, three of them died, and one was left with a permanent brain injury. Despite the harrowing subject matter, this is a beautifully written book that offers hope and redemption. I’m so glad I got to know a little about them all through this narrative.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jackie McMillan

    “The simplest explanation – that generally law-abiding teenagers made a rash decision to overload a car, before their sober driver overshot a bend while under the speed limit – was the only version considered implausible.” Car Crash: a memoir is Lech Blaine’s moving account of what it was like to walk away from a car accident that killed three of his 17-year-old peers in Toowoomba in 2009. Turns out walking away from a trauma like that isn’t quite the same as getting off scot free: “Dying is the “The simplest explanation – that generally law-abiding teenagers made a rash decision to overload a car, before their sober driver overshot a bend while under the speed limit – was the only version considered implausible.” Car Crash: a memoir is Lech Blaine’s moving account of what it was like to walk away from a car accident that killed three of his 17-year-old peers in Toowoomba in 2009. Turns out walking away from a trauma like that isn’t quite the same as getting off scot free: “Dying is the secret wish of the survivor.” Leading with the crash itself, Blaine quickly sucks you into the tale of the event that reshaped his life. As Blaine points out, you’re not alone in your interest: “Hundreds of acquaintances and strangers sought a subscription to the ongoing soap opera of my survival.” As Blaine struggles with where to place his own feelings, the demands of performative grief on social media weighed heavily: “The most unsettling thing wasn’t the quality of the performances, or how deeply people believed in their forgeries of trauma.” Posting as each of his friends succumbed to their injuries Blaine reports thinking more about how his posts looked than grieving: “Still, I dreaded the pending tributes that would expose my friendship with Henry as fairweather. So I changed my profile picture to an image of us together. The main emotion I felt was regret that we hadn’t taken more photos. How else could I prove what I had lost?” In an abrupt jump, the book leaves the time of the accident to create a picture of Blaine’s upbringing as “a well-spoken bogan from a broken home” in Toowoomba. It’s a credit to the author and his writing that this book appealed to me at all, as “white private schoolboys” aren’t usually my favourite protagonists, partly because as Blaine points out, the “justice system was designed to forgive” them. Car Crash is a very good account of trauma, and the way it permeates the rest of your life: “Trauma has two rival desires: death and perfection.” Maybe he just won me by working for Rudd as a staffer, but writing something nice about Gillard (in his father’s voice): “I didn’t mind Ruddy. But Gillard is a champion. We’ll have a true believer in the Lodge. Haven’t had one since Hawkie.”

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hayley 〰 Hayley's Next Page

    In 2009, Toowoomba teenager Lech Blaine was a passenger in a vehicle carrying seven people involved in a car accident. While Blaine walked away without a scratch, three of his mates died and two were left in comas. Yet Car Crash: A Memoir is about more than just this pivotal moment in Blaine's life, as he vulnerably takes us on a personal reflective journey from childhood to the present day. This memoir is filled with influential anecdotes that touch on so many complex topics: grief, trauma, cla In 2009, Toowoomba teenager Lech Blaine was a passenger in a vehicle carrying seven people involved in a car accident. While Blaine walked away without a scratch, three of his mates died and two were left in comas. Yet Car Crash: A Memoir is about more than just this pivotal moment in Blaine's life, as he vulnerably takes us on a personal reflective journey from childhood to the present day. This memoir is filled with influential anecdotes that touch on so many complex topics: grief, trauma, class, mental illness, toxic masculinity, survivors guilt, love, family and friendships. As I'm only three years older than Blaine and grew up in another regional Queensland city, I also related as he discussed life in high school, growing up on NRL and Australian politics. In the book, Blaine mentions being born to be a writer and this is clearly evident in his descriptive and honest writing style. Almost poetic, his writing is on another level. Raw and insightful, I highly recommend reading Car Crash: A Memoir. I would also be remiss not to mention that I listened to the audiobook via BorrowBox and Alec Snow's narration was perfect.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Riley

    Car Crash packs a big punch - the tragic deaths of three teenage boys and the trauma for four others is told in a poetic voice from Lech's perspective. Bouncing between the backdrops of Toowoomba and Brisbane, it is firm in its sense of place and will be familiar to locals. At first it seems strange that Lech sheds no tears, has very little emotional reaction to the loss of his friends, but as the story continues and his history is revealed it is obvious that blocking out vulnerability and prese Car Crash packs a big punch - the tragic deaths of three teenage boys and the trauma for four others is told in a poetic voice from Lech's perspective. Bouncing between the backdrops of Toowoomba and Brisbane, it is firm in its sense of place and will be familiar to locals. At first it seems strange that Lech sheds no tears, has very little emotional reaction to the loss of his friends, but as the story continues and his history is revealed it is obvious that blocking out vulnerability and presenting in a stoically 'masculine' was his way of coping with such a profound trauma. He speaks honestly about depression and suicidal ideation in addition to alcoholism which leads to his 'fall from grace' for lack of a better phrase. I'm only a month or so older than Lech, and yet it feels he has lived/survived so much more than I ever will. This is just one perspective of grief and trauma, but it is definitely worth a read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

    🌟🌟🌟🌟 / 5 stars It’s hard to review a book like this because you don’t want to seem insensitive when it’s such a traumatic incident. Sometimes people write novels about their harrowing experiences but you can immediately tell that they aren’t usually a writer - thankfully that wasn’t the case in this instance, with Lech Blaine clearly having a talent for writing. I can’t imagine being involved in such a traumatic event, let alone imagine how I would react afterwards; so I thank the author for revi 🌟🌟🌟🌟 / 5 stars It’s hard to review a book like this because you don’t want to seem insensitive when it’s such a traumatic incident. Sometimes people write novels about their harrowing experiences but you can immediately tell that they aren’t usually a writer - thankfully that wasn’t the case in this instance, with Lech Blaine clearly having a talent for writing. I can’t imagine being involved in such a traumatic event, let alone imagine how I would react afterwards; so I thank the author for revisiting such a tough time in his life and allowing us to walk alongside the journey with him. I think it feels especially poignant as I live in Queensland so a lot of the places referenced are just a short drive away — it really hammers home that such tragedies can befall anyone. Thanks for sharing this story.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    So lovely to read an authentic and original new Australian voice. Honest and raw, this is a moving account of a fairly typical, but unusually good hearted regional family and its encounters with toxic masculinity, disaster, forgiveness and alcohol in an attempt to recover from one of life's shitstorms. Lech Blaine's is a unique, truthful and expressive voice recognisable to any Australian's ear, with beauty, wisdom and humour thrown in as a bonus. So lovely to read an authentic and original new Australian voice. Honest and raw, this is a moving account of a fairly typical, but unusually good hearted regional family and its encounters with toxic masculinity, disaster, forgiveness and alcohol in an attempt to recover from one of life's shitstorms. Lech Blaine's is a unique, truthful and expressive voice recognisable to any Australian's ear, with beauty, wisdom and humour thrown in as a bonus.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Very tough subject matter, but it also had a sense of nostalgia for me having graduated from a Toowoomba private school in '07. Thank you for giving a glimpse into your life Lech. I couldn't imagine having to navigate those stages of my life whilst also dealing with grief and trauma. Excellently written. Very tough subject matter, but it also had a sense of nostalgia for me having graduated from a Toowoomba private school in '07. Thank you for giving a glimpse into your life Lech. I couldn't imagine having to navigate those stages of my life whilst also dealing with grief and trauma. Excellently written.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Permanently 23

    I really enjoyed this. It took a little bit of time to get some momentum, but I flew through the final third. It made me feel sad about what it must be like growing up as a man in particular pockets of Australian society.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin Cook

    I didn't like parts of it, but that might be because I'm almost exactly this fella's age. Some of the lines are truly sublime mediations on grief and depression and life and I think boys should read it especially. The Queensland references are laid on a bit thick, but they're like that aren't they I didn't like parts of it, but that might be because I'm almost exactly this fella's age. Some of the lines are truly sublime mediations on grief and depression and life and I think boys should read it especially. The Queensland references are laid on a bit thick, but they're like that aren't they

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karli

    This was beautifully written and if you’re a Trent Dalton fan, I think you’ll enjoy this. Lech’s book touches on toxic masculinity and depression and summed up a lot of the worries I have for teens today. It made me think a lot about how I communicate my feelings with others.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Lutvey

    A story of a tragic car accident experienced by young high schoolers and how life unfolded after it. I enjoyed the references to the Toowoomba area and the honest recount captured well by Lech. 3.5 stars. I look forward to more books from this author and hope this is not Blaine’s last!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kaz

    Great writing, first and foremost. Truthful without laying on the adjectives and hyperbole. Doesn’t play up the tragedy on which this story is based and serves as a powerful study into the effects of trauma.

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