More Reviews of “Goodbye Crackernight”

From Karen Carpenter, Sydney, Australia
It doesn’t matter whether you grew up in Epping or Elanora, if you grew up in the suburbs in the 1970s, then you are in this book. If you’ve ever roamed your neighbourhood from dawn to dusk barefoot in summer with your mates, if you’ve ever egged each other on in feats of derring-do, like jumping off gutters dressed as Batman’s Robin, then you’ll love “Goodbye Crackernight”. Reading “Goodbye Crackernight” is pleasurable nostalgia from cover to cover. You and the author are engaged in a cosy mate to mate conversation as you ride barefoot through the streets of your childhood. The introduction ‘Let’s Pedal’ sets the tone and at once you are a part of a warm family and friends. You are a part of the book and the book is a part of you. It is rare that you will find a book so engaging that you forget you are in the modern world. “Goodbye Crackernight” did this seamlessly. I laughed through most, cried through some, even had a mini epiphany! This book is that special. Beautifully set out from beginning to end, you’ll want to read it over and over. Come on, who doesn’t miss Crackernight?

From John Morrow, Australia
“Goodbye Crackernight” is full of memorabilia from the days when you had to amuse yourself without the use of electronic devices. I, together with the author, am pleased we lived and remember the 1970’s. Cracker Night was just one of the annual events we looked forward to as youngster, along with Christmas and birthdays. If you mention the words, Cracker Night, today’s kids would look at you in a strange way and think you were ‘crackers’, or in today’s term, ‘off your head’. Kids would also continue to look at you in a queer way if mentioned the joy you had watching a Catherine wheel, a throw down, or a Roman candle. All of these are now gone, thanks to those fools who mistreated the responsibility of letting off those wonderful crackers, as we all watched them go up in a puff of smoke. Justin Sheedy describes some of the antics he got up to at preschool and the tales from big school also a hoot. He went off to big school holding his mother’s hand, watching other kids bawling their eyes out… not Justin, off he went straight up to his new teacher and sat down next to his first mate Seamus which is pronounced Shaymuth. This is the life and times of Justin Sheedy a man who has a deep dark secret. When he was three, he admits to having nude Barbie dolls that were hand me downs and were commonly known as the nudy rudies. Was this his introduction to sex, or was it the two teenagers doing a little more than just plain kissing in the back seat of an FJ Holden? All in all though, Justin describes those innocent playtime incidents with joy, especially when it rained and the streets were flooded, the gutters overflowed with water, and boats were made out of paddle pop sticks. Justin admits the kids of today are probably more techno sound, but he and his friends don’t care anyway, they had more fun.

From Wendy O’Hanlon
For all those Gen-Xers out there, this book is pure warm and fuzzy nostalgia – page after page after page. Remember when, as a child, there were three highlights of the year – your birthday, Christmas and cracker night. Remember when fun cost nothing, going barefoot, bicycle riding, roller skates, building your own billy cart and running carefree around the neighbourhood. Remember the orange mix called Tang, lime Quik, chip butties. Remember the record player and Top 40 singles, pet rocks, The Seekers. Remember Romper Room; rushing home from school to watch the afternoon TV shows and cartoons such as The Roadrunner, The Monkees, The Thunderbirds. Remember the TV cop shows such as Division Four and Homicide. And who can forget the neighbourhood star – the Valiant Charger. “Goodbye Crackernight” is a huge dose of nostalgia told with great humour and fond memories. Remember your best buddies, your first kiss, your first fight. If you can remember any of these things, you will love this book. It’s a walk down memory lane – great to be a child and teenager again!

From Scott Clare, Sydney
Recently finished reading “Goodbye Crackernight” and I have to be honest, I was sad about it. It’s the sign of a good and enjoyable book when you don’t want it to end! Justin has such an easy going approach to telling these stories, one could almost imagine that you’re hearing them over a friendly BBQ and a few beers. As someone who also mourns the loss of way simpler and different times, this book really struck a chord for me. Thanks muchly Justin!  I will re-read this book and readily recommend it to any like-minded souls such as myself.

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