Girls born in suburban Sydney in the 70s were rarely called Sacha. Particularly girls destined to be ballet dancers. Overcoming her real, ordinary-as, insufficiently Russian name was the first of many trials Sacha had to endure growing up, including the wearing of No Frills brown socks, white frizzy hair and a flat-as-a-pancake chest.
Probably the most valuable trial was learning that suppositories can make you vomit and aren't a reliable cure for asthma, something that Sacha in turn had to teach the local doctors. And just as well, because without that valuable lesson the doctors would never have put their heads together to come up with an alternative treatment that involved neither suppositories nor vomit. Instead Sacha got to learn ballet, learning to pull up and turn out, and from there, life itself began to pull up.
Taking to ballet despite a build that was all wrong, thanks to ill-advised addictions to Nestle's pink milk and sugar laden home-made lemonade, Sacha goes on to become something of a dancing star and no-one is more surprised than her teacher, the legendary Mrs P - an actual Russian. But there's a dark side to success for Sacha and more lessons must be learned on and off the stage, including that the greenroom of the Sydney Opera House is not actually green ...
All this unlikely learning makes The Grass was Always Browner a romp of a memoir and a cautionary tale of the be-careful-what-you-wish-for variety.
About the Author
Sacha Jones has a PhD in Political Theory from the University of Auckland and has variously taught politics, preschool and prancing. She lives with her family on the outskirts of a proper forest (in Auckland, New Zealand) and returns as often as it will have her to the land of fake forests and improbable fruits where she grew up (Frenchs Forest, Sydney, Australia). One day she hopes to return for good - whether it will have her or not- and as a gesture of good faith to that end, earlier this year celebrated her 50th birthday in that same backyard where she once tried unsuccessfully to dig her own pool.
The grass, in both instances, was brown.
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A touching, at times quite sad, but also very humorously written childhood memoir. The author is a sensitive soul whose inner world is often at odds with the strange and unsettling outer world of her childhood in Northern Beaches Sydney. In her teenage years she becomes a ballet star, which is both a blessing and a curse. I enjoyed this partly because I grew up in this era, but it is beautifully written and probably accessible to any teenager or adult.
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 26th April 2016
Publisher: Finch Publishing
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 15.5 x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.31