The ultimate “boot camp”… How would you go?



I read this one a while ago after a recommendation from a teenager in the library. She said it was very confronting to start with and found it a bit sad that a family treated each other in such a bad way. I read it! I agree! It’s a very real story though, and I think, unfortunatly, very human…

Ironbark by Barry Jonsberg is about a troubled sixteen year old boy who is sent to live with his grandfather in the Tasmanian wilderness. The shack they live in has no power except for a single solar power light. The outdoor toilet has only two walls. The water for drinking is rainwater collected from the roof along with leaflitter and dropping from the resident animals and birds. The bath and washing water comes from a nearby dam. The stove for cooking and hot water is a wood fire…

There is no TV.

There is no mobile phone reception.

How do you think you would cope?

From the book jacket:

Sixteen can be a tough time. And it’s almost unmanageable for a wise-cracking boy whose temper is white-hot. As a consequence he is sentenced to a time-out with his reclusive grandfather in a primitive shack in the Tasmanian forest. There is little to do except chop wood and watch the red-eyed wallabies gather at dusk. They are an unlikely couple: a taciturn old man who prefers the simple life, and a volatile boy addicted to the technology of the 21st century and yet a bond blossoms between them. But denied access to much he desires, and feeling provoked by a local cop cynical of city folk, the boy’s frustration grows. And when he encounters situations he can’t control anything could happen …

Have a read. What do you think?


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One Response to “The ultimate “boot camp”… How would you go?”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I really enjoyed this, actually.

    Barry actually took a number of years to finish this book… it’s somewhat unconventional in its style, and the central character is deliberately quite unlikeable, and yet I eventually found myself empathising with him… and the climax is something quite unique.

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