The Girls is Robin Levett's autobiography of growing up in pre-WW2 Australia with her sisters,The Girls.
The Girls were several years older than the author but the tales from her childhood paint a very close and loving family, despite their fathers long absences with work in Queensland.
Starting in the small seaside village Sorrento was once upon a time, the descriptions of children fishing on a Port Phillip Bay teeming with sting rays, sharks, whales and fish of every kind starkly illustrates the changes witnessed within one lifetime.
Being entertained by a multitude of animals they nursed back to health and playing with other local children, the sunshine days of a Sorrento long gone is brought back to life in these pages.
Shortly after an almost fatal accident with their governess on a neighbours bicycle, the family moved to Melbourne where The Girls attended boarding school while the author shared governesses with other local children, before finally going to a day school.
Following Robin's maturing life are the social changes ,first creeping through Australia and then, with the advent of WW2, sweeping away the last vestiges of the British class system many had tried to cling to in the face of a maturing Australian pride.
No life remains happy ever after and this book is no different; there are very sad events that were shared by many other families and how these incidents forced changes upon those left behind is traced in this remarkable memoir that is more than an autobiography and closer to a tribute to The Girls.
Labels: The Girls