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April Fool's Day Paperback – August 6, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia (August 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140272933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140272932
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 4.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryce Courtenay, bestselling Australian author, wrote his first book, The Power of One, at the age of fifty-five. This became the largest-selling book by a living Australian author within Australia, with over half a million copies sold locally. Having lived in Sydney for forty years, Bryce is a patriotic Australian, who is passionate about Australia becoming a truly great nation in the 21st century. Committed to the cause of literacy and the importance of motivating young people to read, he is actively involved with literacy programs in primary schools Australia-wide. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From AudioFile

Bestselling Australian novelist Bryce Courtenay pairs with his usual narrator, the great Humphrey Bower, in this powerful memoir about his son, Damon's, life and death. Don't be deterred by the potentially sad topic, for the story of Damon's life (with hemophilia and AIDS) and his death is as uplifting as it is tear-jerking. Bower reads clearly with his usual exemplary pacing, using different voices only to make a point, such as the officiousness of the Australian doctors. While the subject is, at times, overwhelmingly poignant, Bower never uses an overtly emotive voice; instead he lets the words speak for themselves to fine effect. A.C.S. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is my second read and I still found the book a fantastic read.
Sarahmarra
Bryce Courtenay has shown through the story of his son Damon that love and persistance can over come all evil.
"yarndie"
Loved this book, very sad to read but makes you realise that you need to live every day to its fullest.
Helen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By The Bas on May 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is BC's non-fiction novel that tells the story of his son Damon - in heart-wrenching detail - about his plight with AIDS. Oh, and lest I forget, AIDS that was injected into him by the Australian medical community, thanks to their lax policies on blood donorship.
For those not up on BC, a short history - BC was under a deadline to produce TANDIA (the "Power of One" sequel), and many fans were lukewarm about Tandia - well, it was because everything you read in 'April Fools day' was going on while he had to finish it!
Back to this novel - it is a must-read for anyone with a curiosity about what a family goes through in the face of tragedy, and one that doesn't mind LIVING through the REAL life drama and frustration of a father and mother doing EVERYTHING they can to save their son dying of a disease. It got this grown man some major lumps in my throat, fists on the table, and some tears here and there - I cannot say that about anything I have ever read before in my life. Bryce really puts all his heart and soul to make you, the reader, feel his anger, pain, helplessness and sorrow about someone you will never know. This is a major literary achievement for one of the most brilliant authors of our time.
As I have said in some of my other BC reviews - it is a shame that he does not get more 'exposure' in the US. My wife and I have read everything he has ever done, and not 1 page is a dud amongst the thousands he has written - and we can name thousands of duds out there right now on your supermarket shelves...
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kristen on December 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Since purchasing this book when it was first released I have read and reread it yet it still has not lost the power that gripped me originally nor the need for tissues. Bryce Courtenay tells a personal, emotive story with a great deal of feeling. His descriptions of the life of a person with aids are thought provoking and compassionate. I feel as if I know Damon and Celeste just through what is written. April Fools Day is a must read for all people. It will keep your attention right through to the end.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By darkwish99@yahoo.com on September 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
April Fool's Day is the most moving book I've read this year. I find it really important that Courtenay decided to share such a personal thing to share with us. Although Damon died when he was only 24, I believe he was very lucky to have known really love (I wish every man had a loyal and wonderful girlfriend like Celeste) and have had constant support from his parents and brothers. Despite the acute and neverending pain he was in all the time, I believe, Damon was very strong, stronger than most of the people I've met or heard of, because he didn't want anyone to pity him for his illness. He tried everything he could to lead a normal life and has made me aware that nothing in this world is more important than health. Thus we should treasure every single minute in our lives. Bryce Courtenay is one of the best authors, and if there are better authors than him I'm afraid I haven't read them yet. Thank you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robin Knight on August 25, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Damon Courtenay dies in the first line of the first, introductory chapter of this 666 page book; thus 665 pages tell the story of his life from birth to that death on April Fool's Day, 1991, when Bryce and Benita Courtenay were forced, after 25 years, to surrender their youngest son to the inevitable.

The young salesgirl from whom I purchased my copy some weeks ago tried to sell me a jumbo box of tissues to go with it...

"You'll need them..." she advised, and I suppose I did, but somehow the sheer length of Damon's journey fom death to birth- and back again to death is so incredibly gruelling that the reader is left as numb and drained as were his parents and his devoted parner, Celeste.

"A Modern Love Story" is the book's subtitle, and there is no accident to the nonsubtle cynicism of this description...for this is an ANGRY book, a book that rages, not just against the genetic tragedy that bypassed Benita Courtenay's first two sons to claim Damon- but it is also an anguished, embittered railing aginst the bureaucraticc bunglings, mismanagement, highhandedness and incompetencies that led to his death at such an early age.

For Damon Courtenay, born a haemophiliac, died of Aids....transfusion- induced Aids....Aids introduced by transfusions of blood products accepted from donor groups long decreed unacceptable in other countries, using a technique acknowledged to be less safe than other proven, more costly methods. In Australia, at that time, under the Equal Opportunity provisions, EVERYONE had the right to give blood...and a Health Minister defended that right, even though the mechanics of Aids transmission were already becoming widely known.

But before the Aids, there was the haemophilia.......
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger VINE VOICE on September 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
APRIL FOOL'S DAY was the hardest book Bryce Courtenay ever wrote, and it's also one of the hardest books I ever read. I started it (the first time) on a Friday evening and did nothing but read (and occasionally try to sleep) until I had finished it -- I couldn't imagine stepping out of the middle of the story into my own life. I've read this book, given it away, bought it again, several times: it's not a book you can forget.

Courtenay's son Damon was born in Australia with severe haemophilia. Along with the moving story of an afflicted but strong-spirited boy, Courtenay paints a bitter and angry picture of the Australian medical community at that time, steeped in paternalism and political expediency.

Several times a week Damon would bleed into his joints, and his father would take him to the hospital for infusion of Factor VIII to induce clotting. In other countries families were allowed to stock Factor VIII and infuse at home, minimizing both disruption to the family and permanent damage to joints. This was not permitted in Australia, to the extreme detriment of haemophiliacs and their families.

Worse than this, the screening and fractionation of donated blood in Australia did not at that time meet safety standards known and required in other countries. Damon contracted AIDS from the contaminated Australian blood supply and died of that disease on April Fool's Day in 1991.

The book is saturated with the author's bitterness, and the reader can't fail to walk his angry path with him. You WANT it to have been different, you WANT to find a justification or at least an exculpation for the medical mismanagement of Damon and the entire cohort of haemophiliacs in that time and place.
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