Hard Labour. "Franca: My Story", by Franca Arena and "Speaking for Myself Again: Four Years with Labor and Beyond", by Cheryl Kernot. [review]
If Cheryl Kernot writes another book — and if "Speaking for Myself Again" is anything to go by, you had better hope she doesn’t — her publishers should at the very least make sure the punctuation police do their job. It appears they didn’t even show up to the scene of the accident this time. Much of Kernot’s prose pants with exasperation and petulance, and soon resorts to flippancy. She may well have worthy insights into the male-supremacist media and political system — she rails against the former’s lust for trivia and the latter’s factional tribalism — but the book’s stylistic inadequacies wither the reader’s faith in her authority. From the outset of Franca Arena’s life-writing effort, "Franca", it’s obvious that this author can speak for herself attractively and in a direct, no-frills manner. When Arena left politics, she was hated by some — the gay rights lobby — and admired by others — the Fred Nileists. But at least, unlike Kernot, Arena has written a memoir that is meaningful and self-investigative enough to convince readers that they have got the writer’s full story.