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The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory: A Memoir

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Corey White was a golden child. He knew this because his father would hit his mother and his sisters but not him. And his mother adored him so much she let him drop out of primary school. After losing his father to jail and his mother to heroin, though, he became a target for cruelty and dysfunction in foster homes. A scholarship to a prestigious boarding school lifted him Corey White was a golden child. He knew this because his father would hit his mother and his sisters but not him. And his mother adored him so much she let him drop out of primary school. After losing his father to jail and his mother to heroin, though, he became a target for cruelty and dysfunction in foster homes. A scholarship to a prestigious boarding school lifted him out of foster care and awakened a love of learning and reading for him, but this was soon overwhelmed by a crushing depression and drug addiction. Through it all, he kept thinking – sometimes hoping, sometimes fearing – that he was destined for something bigger. Would he find salvation in the halls of a university, or a poetically grimy crack den, or through love? Or would the golden glow that had been in him since childhood ultimately fade, leaving only darkness and ruin? The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory is a memoir of trauma and survival that will break your heart and then show you how to rebuild it. It is a powerful, lyrical and darkly funny debut from one of Australia’s brightest young comedians. ‘Equal parts hilarious and horrifying, Corey’s story is one of the most powerful I have ever read.’ Wil Anderson ‘Look back in anger. Look around in acceptance. Look forward in love. Harrowing, and yet hopeful.’ Tim Rogers


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Corey White was a golden child. He knew this because his father would hit his mother and his sisters but not him. And his mother adored him so much she let him drop out of primary school. After losing his father to jail and his mother to heroin, though, he became a target for cruelty and dysfunction in foster homes. A scholarship to a prestigious boarding school lifted him Corey White was a golden child. He knew this because his father would hit his mother and his sisters but not him. And his mother adored him so much she let him drop out of primary school. After losing his father to jail and his mother to heroin, though, he became a target for cruelty and dysfunction in foster homes. A scholarship to a prestigious boarding school lifted him out of foster care and awakened a love of learning and reading for him, but this was soon overwhelmed by a crushing depression and drug addiction. Through it all, he kept thinking – sometimes hoping, sometimes fearing – that he was destined for something bigger. Would he find salvation in the halls of a university, or a poetically grimy crack den, or through love? Or would the golden glow that had been in him since childhood ultimately fade, leaving only darkness and ruin? The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory is a memoir of trauma and survival that will break your heart and then show you how to rebuild it. It is a powerful, lyrical and darkly funny debut from one of Australia’s brightest young comedians. ‘Equal parts hilarious and horrifying, Corey’s story is one of the most powerful I have ever read.’ Wil Anderson ‘Look back in anger. Look around in acceptance. Look forward in love. Harrowing, and yet hopeful.’ Tim Rogers

30 review for The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    PattyMacDotComma

    5★ “I felt like dirty broken glass. Moving an arm or a leg took herculean, agonising effort, as though all my muscles had been replaced by thin wires which sliced and slashed my bones with any motion. Despite this, my only thought was that I wanted more ice. Every cell in my body screamed for it. I wanted to feel once more the limitless feeling of total possibility of the night before. It now seemed as essential to me as water and air.” Fascinating, compelling, terrible. If you’ve ever wondered why 5★ “I felt like dirty broken glass. Moving an arm or a leg took herculean, agonising effort, as though all my muscles had been replaced by thin wires which sliced and slashed my bones with any motion. Despite this, my only thought was that I wanted more ice. Every cell in my body screamed for it. I wanted to feel once more the limitless feeling of total possibility of the night before. It now seemed as essential to me as water and air.” Fascinating, compelling, terrible. If you’ve ever wondered why it’s hard to cure ice users, here’s the reason. Corey White is now a popular, well-known Australian comedian who tells a good story. His own is bloody terrifying! Language warning. As a toddler, Corey’s language was already pretty salty and so is the book. I’ll try to avoid quoting that here. As a little boy, he was the apple of his aggressive, drunken father’s eye. Dad belted Mum and the girls but doted on his son. “People ask me now how it was to witness my father do these things. I lie and say I was scared of him. I wasn’t. He never touched me. I was his son, cherished, granted immunity from brutality.” Mum was no angel. He and his sisters learned to step over the syringes when they climbed into the car to go for a drive with her. That’s assuming she hadn’t taken herself for a drive and disappeared, as she liked to do. He writes in short, sharp paragraphs at the beginning, with plenty of white space between them on the pages, almost like jotted notes. Gradually, it assumes the shape of a book. His observations and insight are clear about what was happening and how his young self was dealing with things. Not well. “I stare down the principal, feeling powerful because I’m a psycho to him. I like that people will be scared of me. I feel invincible, like how in ‘Super Mario Brothers’ Mario touches a star and nothing can hurt him. I am bad, and I like being bad. I throw desks at teachers, I hit kids with chairs. I know eight-year-old boys aren’t supposed to be like this, but I am not like other boys. I am different, special. I am my father’s son, and they will fear me.” I recognise it all. A personal note. (view spoiler)[I was a volunteer tutor/mentor for many years in the public school system (in NSW, Australia), and many of the kids, from about 7 to 16, depending where I was, came from abusive households and/or foster homes. Many felt abandoned (some had been) and just wanted to belong, to be loved. Corey could easily have been one of “my” kids – language, abuse, throwing staplers at people’s heads – running away from school. But some of the roughest were also very well-behaved with me, for the short time we spent together. They all loved having one-on-one time with someone who was paying attention only to them. (hide spoiler)] There are some great foster carers, the ones you hear celebrated who genuinely love kids and stretch their own budgets to help them. But there are plenty I’ve heard of who just want the money the state allows for each child. We’ve all seen the movies and tv shows about these lost kids, but we haven’t yet found a way to make it better. He was like a wild animal being beaten into submission. And then it turned out he was smart. I mean academically smart, smart enough to be accepted at a boarding school. Like a lot of troubled kids, he turned to books, but not what you’d expect. “I discovered Friedrich Nietzsche on the shelves of the school library. I fell in love with him, devouring as many of his books as I could. Much of it was too advanced for me, but I drew close to it instinctively. His concept of the will to power struck me as true. The idea that people simply wanted to be powerful and shape the world in the way the wanted provided an explanation. Unconsciously, it provided an answer for my abuse in foster care, why what happened had happened. More than that, it also offered a way to live my life. I decided that I wanted to be powerful.” Then there’s university, clubs, and sex & drugs & rock ‘n’ roll! He doesn’t spare himself. I can only be amazed that his will power and self-awareness have been so strong that they pulled him through. They almost didn’t, but a well-timed phone call saved him from what could have been a catastrophe. But I’ll leave that for you to find out. He’s got enough material to last him a lifetime of performances. Terrific memoir, and it all rings absolutely true. I feel like I knew this kid and this young man. I’m just so glad he seems to have come out the other side . . . so far . . . I hope forever. Photo of Corey White as shown on the book cover

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The current thinking in social work circles is that there are better long-term outcomes for children left with their family in an unstable home, than those removed and placed in foster care. This was in the back of my mind as I read comedian Corey White's recently published memoir, The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory . The details White shares of his childhood made me sick with fear from the first page. His father adored him but belted his wife and daughters. His mother, a drug addict, wou The current thinking in social work circles is that there are better long-term outcomes for children left with their family in an unstable home, than those removed and placed in foster care. This was in the back of my mind as I read comedian Corey White's recently published memoir, The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory . The details White shares of his childhood made me sick with fear from the first page. His father adored him but belted his wife and daughters. His mother, a drug addict, would disappear for days at a time. White was sexually abused by a 'friend' of the family, and as a young child he was violent toward his mother and sisters. I drink in my father's anger, see how it makes him glow and other people cower, and I repeat it. I punch my mother in the stomach and call her a stupid slut. At age nine, White was in and out of foster care, separated from his sisters and placed in a series of different houses and schools. White was bullied, abused and ignored. He rarely experienced kindness and 'love' was not even in his vocabulary. His time with a woman named Tracey, who had her own children as well as fostering a few, was particularly traumatic. While Tracey's own children swan about, living the high life, the foster children have entered a bizarre arms race of grovelling. Tracey was my penance. That's not to say there weren't other ways I could have been changed. Therapy, love, kindness. But cruelty can also save. White's dry humour is evident through out the book but is never overdone - Poverty was a part of life, but it was Australian poverty. There was always enough money to chuck two dollars in a chocolate bar skill tester. No matter how poor we were, we could afford to pay money to not win chocolate. The humour is combined with violence - brutal and raw - and some arrestingly beautiful writing. My father takes me to the pub where he drinks beers and bets on horse racing. He speaks of systems, quinellas, exactas, trifectas, quaddies. It is our special paradise. Most of all I adore the smoke, the way it unfurls in the air like ghosts from cigarettes. I love the silence of the men with the occasional eruptions of hope. The second part of White's book focuses on his adult years and his addictions. He starts with ice, but notes '...I kicked ice by replacing it with alcohol because life isn't a fairytale.' However, this isn't an addiction memoir, it's a story about how a child learns to love when they have never been shown what love looks like. I was contaminated, mutilated. For years I had believed that love held out the one hope of cleaning me and making me whole. Now I knew the truth. Love was just another way I'd wished in vain to be fixed. There was no salvific silver bullet. What was taken from me when I was young could not be replaced. What do I look for in memoirs? The hero's transformation - that defining moment when the course of their life changes direction. Do I think that happens in 'real' life? Yes and no. It's usually a bunch of moments (and memoirs focus on one). In this book, it's hard to pin down that moment. White's 'transformation' is fragile, perhaps a work in progress (and that makes this reader a little worried - I had the same thoughts when I read Liam Pieper and Nic Sheff's memoirs) but it's fair to say that he finishes on firmer ground than that of the first twenty years of his life. Am I a liar? No, I'm not a liar. I'm an unreliable narrator. I wish I were a liar. Liars know the truth. 4/5 Not for the faint-hearted.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    ”He hits my mother, he hits my sisters, but he does not hit me. I am special, his favourite. I am beloved.” I love the title of this memoir, and to be honest that’s the only reason I initially marked this as to-read. A lot of the reviews state that this is darkly funny, but I must have missed the humor, as this was one of the most depressing and devastating memoirs I’ve read in a long time. It’s even sadder to think that there are millions of children living such harrowing lives. Rating a mem ”He hits my mother, he hits my sisters, but he does not hit me. I am special, his favourite. I am beloved.” I love the title of this memoir, and to be honest that’s the only reason I initially marked this as to-read. A lot of the reviews state that this is darkly funny, but I must have missed the humor, as this was one of the most depressing and devastating memoirs I’ve read in a long time. It’s even sadder to think that there are millions of children living such harrowing lives. Rating a memoir is always a difficult thing, as it’s obviously not a judgement on the person’s story, but rather how it resonated with me. The main reason I’m not giving this a higher rating is that my preferred memoirs are the ones where the author interacts as an adult with the story he/she is telling – trying to analyse why things happened, what it did to them, why they responded as they did etc – throughout the story. In TPHITGF we get the story as it happens and then right at the end the author adds a chapter or two on what these horrible events in his life did to him, how he responded, and how he is trying to get better now. I take my hat off to Corey White for managing to move forward and making a success of his life. "Am I a liar? No, I'm not a liar. I'm an unreliable narrator. I wish I were a liar. Liars know the truth.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Natalie M

    Absolutely devastating but what a memoir. Highly recommend this to anyone working with children. The reality is there can be so much more going on behind the scenes than what we see a young person presenting- it is astounding. Corey’s life as a foster child in Brisbane (Australia) is a no-holds-barred tale of tragedy after tragedy. It is not a pretty story but the fact that this is someone’s life is shocking. The trauma runs deep and the recovery will be lifelong. There are instances where I wond Absolutely devastating but what a memoir. Highly recommend this to anyone working with children. The reality is there can be so much more going on behind the scenes than what we see a young person presenting- it is astounding. Corey’s life as a foster child in Brisbane (Australia) is a no-holds-barred tale of tragedy after tragedy. It is not a pretty story but the fact that this is someone’s life is shocking. The trauma runs deep and the recovery will be lifelong. There are instances where I wondered how such damage could be recalled in so much detail but that aside it was an extremely worthwhile read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liza Perrat

    One of those rare, life-changing stories. A raw, honest, emotional, humorous and heartbreaking memoir. A literary masterpiece

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bridget

    Corey White is an Australian comedian, I'm often a fan of memoirs of famous people and went into this thinking it was right up my alley, and to be honest I might have liked this more if it wasn't this particular time in our lives. If I'd read it this time last year I'm pretty sure there would be an extra star on that rating, but it has hit the shops just recently and probably that is just terrible timing for a memoir based on the terrible experiences of someone's early life. Corey was abused as a Corey White is an Australian comedian, I'm often a fan of memoirs of famous people and went into this thinking it was right up my alley, and to be honest I might have liked this more if it wasn't this particular time in our lives. If I'd read it this time last year I'm pretty sure there would be an extra star on that rating, but it has hit the shops just recently and probably that is just terrible timing for a memoir based on the terrible experiences of someone's early life. Corey was abused as a child by an uncle, he was treated as the family's special pet, if he didn't want to go to school he didn't have to. His education was treated as something that was totally expendable, Corey's preciousness was top priority. Corey was a protected child as far as his father was concerned, the others in the family were often beaten to a pulp but he was left alone. In time his father was jailed for violent rape and his mother became an addict. Corey was subsequently moved into foster care from an early age and is given social worker after social worker, some of whom care nothing for him and few who are kind and caring. He is moved from home to home, often being treated incredibly badly. Eventually, he is given the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to a prestigious boy's boarding school which much to his surprise he gains. Boarding school, however, is no fun, he studies incredibly hard to make up for lost time, gains academic success and eventually after a miserable time at school, bullied relentlessly but also not doing himself any favours, he makes it to university. Sadly this is merely the beginning of more trauma and tragedy. It is hard to like Corey a lot of the time, he is so deeply troubled and sad and his life such a litany of awful experiences, he seems so unable to manage to pull himself out of his troubles for such a lot of the time during his school and uni, and it is so understandable and awful. I really wanted him to have a shower a lot of the time! This roller coaster ride of a life makes for a lot of uncomfortable reading, a hefty dose more than I could comfortably deal with right now, but it is interesting and sad and moving. It will take you right inside the mind of someone with terrible troubles, seemingly insurmountable troubles at times. It is a hard read, and of course, sent me off down a rabbit hole of watching YouTube clips of Corey's comedy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jules

    Engrossing, highly readable, never gratuitous; like others, I got through this book in just a couple of sittings. The real shock and horror in reading Corey's story is that it is not a unique one. It's a life experienced by so many of our young people, and a hard cycle to break. As a youth worker, I really value the opportunity to hear these voices. Corey's descriptions of the soulless social workers made me cringe with recognition; there are so many people working at the department who shouldn't Engrossing, highly readable, never gratuitous; like others, I got through this book in just a couple of sittings. The real shock and horror in reading Corey's story is that it is not a unique one. It's a life experienced by so many of our young people, and a hard cycle to break. As a youth worker, I really value the opportunity to hear these voices. Corey's descriptions of the soulless social workers made me cringe with recognition; there are so many people working at the department who shouldn't be, but I can empathize on both sides - the system chews them up as well. I particularly appreciated Corey's brutal honesty when writing about what are at times confronting topics. It's through this that he shows not only his own vulnerability but that in all the others depicted in the book. While this book is about one boy and his family, it also tells a bigger, political story of the intersections of disadvantage - family violence, mental health, family breakdown, substance misuse, poverty, trauma, our failing government. I usually find the endings of memoirs such as these a bit vague and dissatisfying, but that's because real life is messy and ongoing and can't be tied up neatly. I wish Corey all the best, both for his personal future and continued advocacy work.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracey (Life and Literature)

    Corey White doesn't hold back or gloss over the traumatic events of his life in this memoir. It was blunt and direct. But what strength he possesses! As hard as this was to read at times, I just couldn't put it down. 4.5 stars Corey White doesn't hold back or gloss over the traumatic events of his life in this memoir. It was blunt and direct. But what strength he possesses! As hard as this was to read at times, I just couldn't put it down. 4.5 stars

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tessa Eichler

    This broke my heart and made me laugh. It’s so perfectly written and I feel honoured to have read it. 10 out of 5.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura Tee

    Corey White strikes a beautiful balance between devastating tragedy and perceptive comedy in this memoir of his time pinballing from bad situation to bad situation throughout his young life. I couldn’t put this book down and finished it in a single morning as Corey’s life became increasingly horrific and hard to comprehend. But the truth of it is clear and unsentimental. As a respite foster carer, a lot of Corey’s story illuminated patterns and omissions that I have noticed when dealing with DHH Corey White strikes a beautiful balance between devastating tragedy and perceptive comedy in this memoir of his time pinballing from bad situation to bad situation throughout his young life. I couldn’t put this book down and finished it in a single morning as Corey’s life became increasingly horrific and hard to comprehend. But the truth of it is clear and unsentimental. As a respite foster carer, a lot of Corey’s story illuminated patterns and omissions that I have noticed when dealing with DHHS. When a child is dropped at my home, I am told virtually nothing about where they have come from or what has happened to them. Once they leave my home, there is no follow-up to reassure me that they have found a safe place. The social workers who ferry these children around change from day-to-day and even I struggle to keep track of who is case managing who from week-to-week. They quit, move around, or take on different roles, and I rarely see the same face twice. In such an environment, how can any child be tracked and properly supported in a real and meaningful way? Corey’s aching aloneness and sense of abandonment - together with a crushing sense that everything rests with him - makes complete sense in such a system. A lot of this was really hard to read. White is unflinching in his retelling, almost challenging his reader to look away and to say, “this is too much for me”. But it is a reality for so many young people, and deserving to be told.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ms Midge

    I bought this book on a random recommendation on the radio, having no idea what it was about. From the first page I was horrified, saddened, engrossed and committed to finishing it. Though the contents were disturbing and shocking at times, it gave me an insight in to drug addiction and mental illness that I had never had. It was also funny, enlightening and hopeful. Brilliant read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘He hits my mother, he hits my sisters, but he does not hit me. I am special, his favourite. I am beloved.’ In this memoir, Corey White writes of his life in a dysfunctional family, of his life in the foster care system, of his fight with addictions. The details are harrowing, his survival is a triumph. ‘Time heals all wounds but the wounds to memory.’ I read this memoir slowly, needing frequent breaks so as not to become overwhelmed by the story. It’s difficult to maintain a distance from this sto ‘He hits my mother, he hits my sisters, but he does not hit me. I am special, his favourite. I am beloved.’ In this memoir, Corey White writes of his life in a dysfunctional family, of his life in the foster care system, of his fight with addictions. The details are harrowing, his survival is a triumph. ‘Time heals all wounds but the wounds to memory.’ I read this memoir slowly, needing frequent breaks so as not to become overwhelmed by the story. It’s difficult to maintain a distance from this story of Corey’s life, impossible (for me at least) to remain objective. Any memoir which touches on child abuse and neglect is hard to read, such journeys are difficult to acknowledge. ‘A nervous breakdown. It was the annihilation of all the armour I’d built for myself over a lifetime.’ It takes great courage to fight addictions, to move beyond such traumatic events, to find a place as an independent adult. Not everyone can overcome such challenges: it’s difficult to maintain hope, to believe that the future might be brighter than the past. Corey White seems to have found such a place for himself within Australia’s comedy community. I finished this book hoping that Corey White continues to find (and occupy) a space where he is comfortable and safe. This is not a comfortable read, many will find it confronting: I certainly did. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    A true testament to the human will to survive adversity, Corey’s memoir was equal parts heart-wrenching and hilarious. At times I found myself gasping at the horrors to which Corey was subjected to at the hands of the hopelessly broken and at times evil Australian foster care system, in tears during his darkest moments, or laughing out loud at the many absurd situations he encounters, all told with an unflinching and endearing honesty. I was utterly captivated from start to finish, and powered t A true testament to the human will to survive adversity, Corey’s memoir was equal parts heart-wrenching and hilarious. At times I found myself gasping at the horrors to which Corey was subjected to at the hands of the hopelessly broken and at times evil Australian foster care system, in tears during his darkest moments, or laughing out loud at the many absurd situations he encounters, all told with an unflinching and endearing honesty. I was utterly captivated from start to finish, and powered through the whole book in no time; I just had to see how he came out the other side of it all. A beautifully written memoir. Well done Corey.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beth Sorensen

    “I am episodes, fragments. A second-hand jigsaw puzzle full of incompleteness. Am I a liar? No, I’m not a liar. I’m an unreliable narrator. I wish I were a liar. Liars know the truth.” Holy shit. This is an incredible memoir. Corey White shares his story of abuse, drug addiction, mental illness, trauma, love and ultimately, healing and survival, from his fragmented memories as a child to his life now. He recounts his life in such an honest, darkly funny, raw, emotional, and hopeful way. I couldn’ “I am episodes, fragments. A second-hand jigsaw puzzle full of incompleteness. Am I a liar? No, I’m not a liar. I’m an unreliable narrator. I wish I were a liar. Liars know the truth.” Holy shit. This is an incredible memoir. Corey White shares his story of abuse, drug addiction, mental illness, trauma, love and ultimately, healing and survival, from his fragmented memories as a child to his life now. He recounts his life in such an honest, darkly funny, raw, emotional, and hopeful way. I couldn’t put it down and when I finished it I cried. I don’t know him but I’m so happy for him and so glad he shared this with us.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alyce

    Wow, what a book. So revealing and raw. Could not put it down (evidenced by my lack of sleep to finish it)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael McEvoy

    What a shitty life. A drug-addicted mother and an abusive father led to Corey being raised (and neglected) in a series of foster homes. The trauma he experienced as a child has had heartbreaking impacts on his adult life. His fear of turning into his father became almost a self-fulfilling prophesy, but he has pulled himself through to a place of happiness. A great read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julia Tutt

    I would never be brave enough to give a memoir like this less than full marks

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eva Bailey

    Wow. A hard and harrowing read but incredible. I listened to the audiobook and Corey's reading of his own story was thick with emotion. His occasional laughter at his own words was amazing and personable. I gasped out loud several times during this book and cried several times more. A must read. Wow. A hard and harrowing read but incredible. I listened to the audiobook and Corey's reading of his own story was thick with emotion. His occasional laughter at his own words was amazing and personable. I gasped out loud several times during this book and cried several times more. A must read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brenna

    In general, not a big fan of stand up comedy. Very big fan of this book. Thank you for sharing your incredible story Corey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    C De

    This is why we read

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Corey White has lived a life that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. White is unflinchingly honest about the trauma he faced at the hands of his parents, his carers and himself. I’d be lying if I said this book wasn’t hard to read. It’s full on and stark, detailing the abuse a young boy endured and the faults of the Australian foster care system. But at the same time, it’s incredibly hopeful. You have the power to make your life what you want, even if you are born into and experience horri Corey White has lived a life that you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy. White is unflinchingly honest about the trauma he faced at the hands of his parents, his carers and himself. I’d be lying if I said this book wasn’t hard to read. It’s full on and stark, detailing the abuse a young boy endured and the faults of the Australian foster care system. But at the same time, it’s incredibly hopeful. You have the power to make your life what you want, even if you are born into and experience horrific circumstances. With White being a comedian, he has written about some of his most harrowing moments with traces of hilarity. This makes reading these awful accounts more palatable and his use of dark humour is clever and considered. Corey is accepted into a prestigious boarding school and works so hard to excel in all he does. This really struck a chord with me. As a qualified primary school teacher, I am acutely aware of the restorative power of an education and the stability and comfort a school routine can bring to students that face uncertainty and fear at home. Penguin Australia describe this as a memoir that “will break your heart and then show you how to rebuild it”. I think this quote is incredibly appropriate for the roller coaster ride this book takes you on. Trigger warning for almost anything you can think of. Be gentle with yourself when you read this one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Unflinchingly honest and brutal. Australian comedian, Corey White, speaks about his upbringing by dysfunctional parents before his long, hellish years in the foster care system. This is a hopeful book because, despite White's drug addiction and unremitting suicidal thoughts, a diagnosis of complex PTSD has helped him come to grip with the whispering ghosts of his past. Three things that really stuck with me in this book. One, White's ability to honestly embrace both the love and hate he feels for Unflinchingly honest and brutal. Australian comedian, Corey White, speaks about his upbringing by dysfunctional parents before his long, hellish years in the foster care system. This is a hopeful book because, despite White's drug addiction and unremitting suicidal thoughts, a diagnosis of complex PTSD has helped him come to grip with the whispering ghosts of his past. Three things that really stuck with me in this book. One, White's ability to honestly embrace both the love and hate he feels for his parents, those emotions often overwhelming and simultaneous. Two, his ability to embrace every chance he got to save himself despite being told he wasn't worth it. Three, embracing re-parenting as weird as it sounds. It's a brilliant thing. I was going to grab some quotes and sprinkle them throughout my review, but just imagine nearly the entirety of Chapter 13 here. I listened to it, rewound it, and listened to it two more times. Life physically beat on Corey White and it screwed up his amygdala, but it couldn't take away his tender heart, his intelligence, or his wisdom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura (laurareads_)

    Difficult does not even begin to describe the life that Corey White has had. ⁣ This book is a harrowing story about the realities of the Australian foster care system, growing up in a broken home, addiction, the after effects of ongoing trauma, and survival against all odds. ⁣It is raw, honest, dark, gritty, crudely funny, and completely unputdownable. ⁣ After reading tragedy after tragedy, there were times I frequently wondered if this memoir had actually been published posthumously. It absolutely Difficult does not even begin to describe the life that Corey White has had. ⁣ This book is a harrowing story about the realities of the Australian foster care system, growing up in a broken home, addiction, the after effects of ongoing trauma, and survival against all odds. ⁣It is raw, honest, dark, gritty, crudely funny, and completely unputdownable. ⁣ After reading tragedy after tragedy, there were times I frequently wondered if this memoir had actually been published posthumously. It absolutely broke my heart again and again, and just when I thought it was being put back together it broke again but I couldn’t stop reading. Though the content is bleak, it is a great read and has stayed with me since the day I finished it. ⁣ ⁣ If you like an utterly raw and moving memoir, give this one a go. But content warnings are necessary for every possible form of abuse, violence, drugs, alcohol, suicide and mental health issue, so steel yourself dear readers because it’s a tough one to sit through.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Burnt raw and hopelessly real, this is a book to remind you how formidable it is to survive and salvage a life that's been crippled by childhood trauma and apathy. Burnt raw and hopelessly real, this is a book to remind you how formidable it is to survive and salvage a life that's been crippled by childhood trauma and apathy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tilly Spro

    4.5 ⭐️ To not only emerge from his childhood but to go on and achieve in various fields is remarkable and deserving of huge credit.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    Lots of people have seem to write about their horrific Australian childhoods, from Albert Facey's "A Fortunate Life" to Rosie Waterland's "The Anti-Cool Girl". Corey White writes with particular clarity and with a dark humour about living with parents who were contradictory both loving and abusive. Living on the edge he and his sisters were then dragged up through the foster "care" system and all it's uncertainties. Once on the way to having a good life, he provides powerful insights about some Lots of people have seem to write about their horrific Australian childhoods, from Albert Facey's "A Fortunate Life" to Rosie Waterland's "The Anti-Cool Girl". Corey White writes with particular clarity and with a dark humour about living with parents who were contradictory both loving and abusive. Living on the edge he and his sisters were then dragged up through the foster "care" system and all it's uncertainties. Once on the way to having a good life, he provides powerful insights about some of his self-sabotage along the way. I knew he'd had a harrowing time, I remembered seeing him tell a bit of his story on ABC TVs Australian Story TV series after some great success in Stand-up Comedy. I was a little hesitant about reading his story but found it compelling once I picked it up and he expertly guides us through his young life. Beautifully written. Empathetic but not in the least soppy about it. Phenomenally impressive. He's got a great mind, empathetic and intelligent, I hope he's around to share it for a long, long time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Very good book. I recently was informed that I have Bipolar alongside the PTSD that was worked out late last year. Suffice to say the last half of the book resinated with me a lot. "Until I was diagnosed, when people spoke of the power of being labelled I dismissed it as platitudinous. Now I understood. To be labelled meant your pain was patterned and therefore predictable. It could be controlled and fought against as others had controlled and fought against it. I was no longer alone. Instead I Very good book. I recently was informed that I have Bipolar alongside the PTSD that was worked out late last year. Suffice to say the last half of the book resinated with me a lot. "Until I was diagnosed, when people spoke of the power of being labelled I dismissed it as platitudinous. Now I understood. To be labelled meant your pain was patterned and therefore predictable. It could be controlled and fought against as others had controlled and fought against it. I was no longer alone. Instead I belonged to a great mass of the similarly tormented and there was comfort in this. I was not an exile, but one of many." I laughed out loud a few times, and I think it was a story worth telling. There are a lot of other similarities in our lives apart from mental health struggles that I very much identified with, which brought some stuff up, which you may want to consider before diving in head first. Good book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tricia Kate

    Corey's memoir was incredible to read. I was traipsing around my local library and stumbled across this not knowing what to expect. I am so glad that I gave this book a go! Corey takes you on a journey where you cannot help but feel sad, angry, reflective, hopeful and so much more. There are a lot of confronting topics, it is very raw but so well written. Thank you, Corey, for sharing your story and bringing awareness to the dysfunctional foster care system in Australia. Things need to change! Corey's memoir was incredible to read. I was traipsing around my local library and stumbled across this not knowing what to expect. I am so glad that I gave this book a go! Corey takes you on a journey where you cannot help but feel sad, angry, reflective, hopeful and so much more. There are a lot of confronting topics, it is very raw but so well written. Thank you, Corey, for sharing your story and bringing awareness to the dysfunctional foster care system in Australia. Things need to change!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanzi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Harrowing, enraging, devastating; but with beautiful revelations scattered throughout. I had goosebumps and tears when, at the end, Corey makes peace and loves his inner child that was so tormented from birth. It’s never easy and it always hurts reading or hearing about children being abused and neglected when they deserve so much better; it’s never easy reading or hearing about social workers who should do better but can’t. Conclusively this was not an easy read; but it is a necessary one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeanie in a Book

    After having this sit on my bedside for 6+ weeks I picked it up and devoured it in less than 24 hours. If I had to sum it up in two words: brutal & brilliant. I particularly liked his unique reflection on how some of the traumas he experienced saved in from a worse path and his frankness in describing mental health struggles and tools he used to help heal himself. Would read again!

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