I got Caro's book downloaded on my iPad as a Kindle for Mac ebook.
I am not going to spoil your pleasure in reading this wonderful piece of writing other than to say I couldn't stop reading it once I got started and it is engrossing, engaging and emotionally and intellectually formidable.
I met Caroline in 1981 or thereabouts when she came to interview me about Women of the Sun. She immediately struck me as well researched, bright and engaged in a way that some of those who did interviews weren't.
Over the years I saw her go from print to television and to live writer's festival events with important writers from all over the world.
There seems to be a rash of memoir writing or maybe I have just been reading memoirs a lot more than I ever did. I had dinner with a friend last night who is almost through writing one and we talked about Caro's book and also Oliver Sack's memoir that he published shortly before he died.
Sacks also kept a journal that was published in the New York Review of Books in every issue after he realised that he was going to die until he did. As did Jenny Diski in the London Review with her cancer diary. Her memoir of growing up in 1960's swinging London and being fostered by Doris Lessing was riveting reading but disturbing and disturbed.
I came close to meeting Sacks once. Caroline was doing books on tv for the ABC and asked if she could use my house in St Kilda for a location. Sure, I said and promptly forgot about it. On the day I got home and I heard something upstairs. When I quietly approached there was Sacks sitting facing Caroline in mid interview so I went further upstairs and waited until it was over.
Finally he left and I came down to talk with Caro and see how it went. "You know he was wearing a shirt exactly like one of mine," I said. "It was yours, he came on his motorbike and his T Shirt was covered in grease and I told him he couldn't do the interview looking like that so we went up to your dressing room and chose that one".
Getting back to Only it is an incredibly brave thing to have written. Writing about yourself and your history is hard enough but crossing over to the other side when your professional life has been about other people's work and careers and understanding that perspective must not only have taken mental agility but also the courage to make yourself vulnerable and open. The book succeeds beyond and over ..
Caroline has always set the bar high for herself and you will see why from a reading of the book. This book meets that high standard of expectation and rewards the reader with its frankness, playfulness and above all its unblinking honesty. There is pain as well as joy and the family dynamics are described without sentimentality or gloss.
Caro was always a very generous interviewer and would not wing her way through
The cover has quotes from Magda Szubanski whose memoir I am now reading and Helen Garner who doesn't give praise lightly.
So, much to read but put Only at the top of your list. You will love it too.
Here's an interview with Caroline Baum on ABC (mp3 below)