The Family Law by Benjamin Law – I wish my family was this funny

One of the main reasons I buy Frankie magazine is to read the brilliant wordsmithing of Benjamin Law. Boyfriend can write a mean sentence, and his paragraphs! Whoa! Such amazing structure! Not to mention he is funny, witty and incredibly intelligent. Am I gushing? I tend to get really excited when I’m talking about writers I love.

I bought his new book The Family Law a few weeks ago and it sat idly on my bedside table, neglected as I got sucked into the humdrum of daily life. Cut to me slipping a disc AGAIN last week, and I’m flat on my back and stuck in bed. Finally, no excuses. I started reading at 9am and literally could not put it down (I didn’t even stop to eat, such was my commitment). Four hours later I was done and I had tears rolling down my cheeks from laughing and crying.

The Family Law is a collection of essays and recollections of Benjamin’s years growing up on the Sunshine Coast in a large asian family. Being child number three of 5, gay and with eccentric parents, he has a lifetime of fodder for future books, but this one certainly delivers. I actually laughed out. Very loudly. You might even say I guffawed.

I won’t ruin any of it (I hate book reviews that spoil the storyline) but I now know far more than I ever needed to about Mrs. Law’s vagina. I also saw reflections of my own adolescence in Benjamin’s experiences (I’m white and female, he’s asian and male…yeah?) – growing up in Australia in the 90s and the music, the culture, the schooling…it’s all there. Just like my adolescence. Except when he retells it, it’s really really funny.

Price: $27.95
From: All good bookstores (and possibly a couple of crappy ones too)
Why you need it: For a really enjoyable read. Especially if you like vulgarity and crassness (lots of that). Not so much if you like stories about dancing geese (none of that).

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One Response to "The Family Law by Benjamin Law – I wish my family was this funny"

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  1. Yarni

    August 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Joining the 'read it in a day' support group. (Thanks, leec!) I was horribly hungover and it was the perfect I'm-going-to-lie-in-bed-all-day companion.


    There were a few things I liked about it. The first was his complete lack of pretension, which is so incredibly important when someone is writing an autobiography/ memoir/ journal. I also liked that he didn't play on his minority status. I mean, he's a homosexual, Asian man with a father who ran Asian (Chinese then Thai) restaurants, and so there are so many cliched, easy-entertainment style stories he could have told, but he has managed to write something which doesn't make him, or his family, a two dimensional stereotype.

    If he wanted us to walk away with the impression he is a gentle soul with a healthy appreciation for the ridiculous he's done an excellent job.

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