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Family Law Paperback – June 1, 2011
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Benjamin Law is a freelance writer who first blipped onto my radar when I started reading his pieces in hipster-darling magazine, `Frankie'. He also contributes to `The Good Weekend', `The Monthly' and has written for `The Best Australian Essays' and even appeared on ABC's Q&A. I love him. He's enviably witty, self-deprecating, and writes brilliant argumentative pieces with first-hand experience as his weapon of choice. I'd been looking forward to his novel debut for so long, and when `The Family Law' came along in 2010 I was not in the least bit surprised by the novel's brilliance. . .
`The Family Law' is a biography in 23 parts - as Law recounts mundane and extraordinary familial events through 23 short stories.
Benjamin Law is gut-achingly funny - so funny he's sometimes freakin' painful to read. But he's at his funniest when describing his family and their weird, endearing mannerisms and quirks - like in `Baby Love', in which he writes about his Cantonese mother's horror-filled stories about raising Benjamin and his four other siblings.
Mum also said childbirth was unbearably, gratuitously painful. When I once asked her to compare and rate
each of our births - which was easier, which was faster - she balked. `No birth is easy!' she exclaimed. `Of course a man would ask that question. Men can't even begin to imagine. Can you imagine 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.Read more ›
This book pretty much set me off on a wild chase for all the stories I could find of him online, and I think I've pretty much seen it all.
I read this all in one sitting and I ask those curious about this book to read a few passages :-)
Each essay looks at the family from a slightly different angle so that, as I laughed at the goings-on, I got to know the family better (especially Jenny and Benjamin) and increasingly felt real affection for them. Law's main theme is coming of age as gay and Asian on the Sunshine Coast, and his descriptions of this are both funny and moving. Other themes include adapting to a new country and culture, divorce and the often absent workaholic father, violence at school, attitudes to nursing homes, and the time many of his extended family were rounded up as illegal immigrants.
The focus is on telling good stories with humour, rather than on treating issues at depth, and this sometimes produces witty but glib statements such as: "Every marriage begins with passive aggression, but couples soon learn that being passive requires effort. It's easier to be openly hostile."
A funny way to write a memoir, but (mostly) it works. And I suspect that more substantial books from Benjamin Law may be on the way.
The story showed how similar life is from family to family regardless of the ethnic background but highlighted the very significant differences when the family is Asian.
Made me want to buy the second book.
Thankfully, the author has grown up rather respectfully as a journalist, columnist and has appeared on numerous occasion as a panelist on ABC's Q&A programme. Articulate, composed and disarmingly engaging on tv where his opinions on a broad spectrum of matters were openly sought, this book is however quite different and written from a juvenile perspective a work in progress from which he has emerged.
Honest, raw and quite often "too much info" nevertheless makes an easy and entertaining read. BLaw is a brave man indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book after discovering the Australian comedy show based on it, I'm glad I did! It's a very fun read and entertaining.Published 4 months ago by Juju
sweet and sourly disarming random reminiscences of growing up. LOVED IT !!!
it made me smile, laugh and cry in commiseration with Benjamin.
A great account of growing up Gaysian in the heart of the Aussie burbs. A warts and all biography on the ethnic experience of second generation Australians told with humor and... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love Benjamin Law's stories about his family, its hilarious and I would love to see his mum in action. Huge fan.Published 17 months ago by SixDee
I was a bit sad when I finished The Family Law. I really enjoyed reading Benjamin's family stories, and wasn't quite ready for it to end. Read morePublished 20 months ago by JZ
I follow Benjamin Law on Twitter and he is hilarious. His family are even more so, and his stories of them had me laughing out loud.Published on August 20, 2013 by Kerri Sackville