Book Review: Out of Copley Street, by Geoff Goodfellow • Glam Adelaide

Book Review: Out of Copley Street, by Geoff Goodfellow

MEMOIR: Australian literary icon Geoff Goodfellow provides a playful, tender, richly realised childhood memoir in his first prose collection.

A heartfelt and heart-warming reflection on boyhood in suburban South Australia.

Geoff Goodfellow once had the lucky opportunity to meet Ken Kesey, author of the powerhouse piece of fiction One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, at Adelaide Writer’s Week in 1986.

Kesey gave Goodfellow some sage advice: to stop writing poetry and start writing prose. Now, almost 35 years later, he has finally taken that advice and released his first work of non-fiction prose. The result is a series of chapters reflecting on his childhood and teenage years, titled Out of Copley Street: A Working-Class Boyhood.

Within the delivery of a preface, 12 chapters and concluding with a recent reflection on a cherished pair of boxing gloves, Geoff ‘Bluey’ Goodfellow takes the reader on a stroll down memory lane through the streets and suburbs of South Australia’s urban development of the 50s and 60s. He clearly recalls the people, places, conversations and activities that remain fond memories – well, not all fond – of his youth.

From familial occasions and occurrences to acts of childhood and teenage rebellion, through to a number of early career options, this is nothing less than a heartfelt and heart-warming reflection on the Adelaide suburbs of yesteryear.

Even more engaging and engrossing is that remnants of many of his reflections remain today. One could even prepare a self-guided tour of Goodfellow’s younger days from the details included. For those of us of ‘a certain age and older’ there are many triggers to the past when Goodfellow reflects on his apprenticeships in the butcher’s game.

Out of Copley Street would make a welcome addition to any Adelaidean’s book collection and will provide a simple read in that Goodfellow style that will bring a wry smile to the face. Put this one on your Christmas wish list or perhaps, surprise a loved one (particularly a parent or grandparent who lived in Adelaide at that time) with a copy. I am sure they will cherish it. Here’s to his next volume of prose.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Distributed by: Wakefield Press
Released: September 2020
RRP: $24.95

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