“I can cut it any way I want but I can’t get away from what it means. I am obsessed. I am paralysed… I am whatever it is when you’re my age and you’re adrift and all your hormones are holding a cold gun to your head.”
– Christopher Currie, Clancy of the Undertow
In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.
As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.
In short, this is the summer when Clancy has to figure out who the hell she is.
I’m not sure if I have previously mentioned just how much I love Australian literature? Especially when it is based around history or other famous pieces of art and literature. As soon as I saw Clancy of the Undertow by Christopher Currie, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy!
The story is set in the small town of Barwen in Queensland and sixteen-year-old Clancy is suffering from what can only be described as small town claustrophobia. She views herself (and her family) as misfits; Clancy’s love for the Nature Club seems to embarrass and excite her in equal parts. She struggles with friendships and cannot define her growing obsession with Barwen’s hot girl, Sasha. Clancy’s troubles are made worse when her father is involved in an accident that results in two deaths. Her family (and their property) become the target of ridicule and abuse and this only heightens Clancy’s frustration. When a new girl joins the Nature Club, Clancy begins to learn the value of true friendship and in turn, the importance of family.
So what did I like? Currie’s interpretation of a teenager finding her way in the world is a great start. He treats Clancy with empathy and understanding and the reader gets the feeling that Currie’s own teenage years weren’t far from his mind while writing this book. He has nailed the terrible confusion of being a teen with Clancy’s behaviour seeming perfectly relatable and normal. She is awkward and moody with a dry sense of humour that will leave you laughing out aloud. Clancy of the Undertow is another fabulous example of the talented bunch of writers we have in Australia!
AUTHOR: Christopher Currie
PUBLISHER: Text Publishing
PUB DATE: 16 November 2015
Thank you to Text Publishing for sending me a reading copy in exchange for an honest review!