Tag Archives: memoir

A hilarious read – The Family Law, by Benjamin Law

8 Oct

I love a good book.  Although, I am picky about my reads.  In particular I love travel stories, bios, memoirs and the odd novel.  Ohh, also anything written by a foreign correspondent (Red Square Blues, Absurdistan, Lost in Transmission and Holy Cow just to name a few).

Recently, one of my besties (and my kinda sister-in-law) gave me The Family Law by Brisbane writer, Benjamin Law.  Ben is a great writer, funny and achingly honest.  He also writes for one of my favourite magazines, Frankie plus other broadsheets but I’ll let you look them up.  So I was already familiar with his writing style and with Emma’s raves about it, couldn’t wait to start.

Well, it only took about a week to read this little gem!  Let me explain that the Law family are Hong Kong/Chinese/Malaysian and moved to the Sunshine Coast in the early negotiations of the hand over of Hong Kong back to China.  They are an eclectic and insane (in a good way) family.  One of five children, Ben recounts snippets of his life.  He allows you a sneaky, voyeuristic glimpse of growing up on the Sunshine Coast in the 80’s and some more recent tales.  You relive so many cultural cringes, family embarrassments and sibling brawls.   Nothing is sacred, everything is joked about, similar to ‘it’s all fun and games til someone loses an eye, theirs is ‘Until that day, we’ll be laughing’.

Crazy, complex and down right hysterical.  I haven’t had such a good belly laugh in ages.  Probably my favourite Law is his mum, Jenny.  She’s been through some traumatic times and it so frank about things that it makes you blush.  She’s tough and caring, no topic is taboo, not afraid to guilt trip, has a hoarding problem and loves to use the word c&*t.  Some golden quotes from Jenny are…. 

  • to Benjamin on the pain of childbirth ‘Can you imagine squeezing a lemon coming out of your penis-hole?  Yes, yes!  That’s what it’s like!  I’d like to see a man squeeze lemons out of his penis-hole.  OUT OF YOUR PENIS-HOLE, BENJAMIN.  You can’t even imagine, can you?  A whole lemon – with the points on each end and everything, except this lemon has limbs.  Out of your penis-hole.  PENIS.  HOLE.’
  • the war wounds of childbirth ‘After that many childbirths, your vagina meat goes all floppy’.
  • on her children not calling her ‘One day, you’ll tink to yourself: “Oh, maybe I should call Mum!  On the telephone like a normal person! But hello!  Jenny is dead!  Yes!  You will have a dead mother.’  I’ll let you read the rest, pg 162.  Keep reading because there is a side-splitting bit about Jenny learning to sms…. 

I tell you, Jenny is GOLD!

A totally fantastic read, highly recommended and get’s my two thumbs up!  

b d