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April Fool's Day Paperback – August 6, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bryce Courtenay is the bestselling author of The Power of One, Tandia, April Fool's Day, The Potato Factory, Tommo & Hawk, Solomon's Song, Jessica, A Recipe for Dreaming, The Family Frying Pan, The Night Country, Smoky Joe's Cafe, Four Fires, Matthew Flinders' Cat, Brother Fish, Whitethorn, Sylvia, The Persimmon Tree, Fishing for Stars, The Story of Danny Dunn and Fortune Cookie. The Power of One is also available in an edition for younger readers, and Jessica has been made into an award-winning television miniseries. Bryce Courtenay lives in Canberra. Visit Bryce on Facebook: facebook.com/BryceCourtenay --This text refers to an alternate Paperback 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 alternate Paperback edition.
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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: 4.5 x 1.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,698,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought that I knew something about hemophilia, but it turned out that I knew very little. I read this book because it was recommended by a close friend who has a hemophiliac son. By the time I finished reading I had a fresh understanding and sympathy for my friend's son, for all that he suffers and for how bravely he endures. I had great respect and admiration for his parents and that has increased many fold since I completed "April Fool's Day".

I loved the author, his family, dedicated girl-friend and the good people (professional and friends) who worked with such dedication to help the authors son. On the other hand, I was enraged by the slough of the politicians and the rigidity of some of the Medical Establishment, whose main concern seemed to be protecting their turf and preserving their egos.

I think it fair to say that my friend's son is the beneficiary of the enlightenment that this book has shed on the problems that face hemophiliacs.
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