33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Something Worth Reading about Ned Kelly,
This review is from: True History of the Kelly Gang (Hardcover)
After studying in Melbourne, Australia for about 4 years, I had fallen across texts and historical accounts on the famous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly. Most of the time, they were quite bland and very vague - what they stressed most was that Ned Kelly was someone who was a mystery, a folk tale.
Another book that has dealt with trying to get into the real character of Ned Kelly was Our Sunshine. I feel that "True History of the Kelly Gang" gives us a more in depth feel into one view of what the true Ned Kelly was like. The characters in the book comes alive and at times, you forget that this was not written by Carey but by Ned himself (which is what Carey wants the reader to do). The grammatical errors and the lack of punctuation did become confusing at times but, trust me, you get used to it and it also makes the story come alive and makes it very, very believable. It is almost like the new phase of Reality TV but better.
The book deals with all the events that Ned Kelly went through and Carey weaves all these events with Kelly's personal life and an example of what he might have felt during different stages of his life. The layout of the "project" is given to the reader in a package form from his younger days to his early death. It is extremely detailed and it is obvious that a lot of painstaking research was poured into the book and it is evident that Carey actually became the Ned that he was painting in his mind.
This is a book that has everything - murder, love, family, loyalty, betrayal, action and most of all, it is able to draw the reader into the situation to feel what all the characters are feeling. It forces the reader to think about whether Kelly was in the right or in the wrong and it creates debate between knowledge that we all might have past before about this character.
It is hard for someone who had never heard of the Kelly story before to really get into this book and to truly appreciate it, some history has to be studied. This is what makes the book fascinating as it is remarkable to see how Carey has weaved the events to make it feel like a flowing river of events. Basically, these parcels/manuscripts that have been written are from Ned Kelly himself to his daughter so as to give evidence that he is not the man the newspapers portray him as. It is a touching and very emotional account of a man that has been wronged for most of his life. But we also have to pause and think whether what all he is saying is true or what he wants to be true.
As a teenager, I recommend it to all age groups (I mean, if it passes for teenagers, it should be able to pass for everyone) as it can be read on many levels - as a story or as a trip into real history.
This book serves its purpose of bringing Ned Kelly to life and I salute and thank Peter Carey for doing that for me.