Wednesday 15 April 2009

Old Boy Tells Boarding School Tales

Xave Brown, legendary singer, sang "Bird on a Wire", the Leonard Cohen classic at the launch of "Boy on a Wire".

Christ Church Grammar School's Centre for Ethics recently welcomed old boy Jon Doust back to the school for the launch of his book "Boy on a Wire".

Jon, who is based in Albany, is a well-known stand-up comedian and performer and a former columnist for The West Australian. He was born in Bridgetown and was sent to boarding school at Christ Church in the early 60s. Jon said he survived the boarding experience because he was strong from chopping lots of wood on the farm and had a quick wit and sharp tongue.

“The biggest scar boarding school left on me was the scar I saw left on others,” Jon said. Dedicated to all those boys who carried their scars into manhood, he said Boy on a Wire was about an underdog who bit back.

Sent to boarding school at a young age, Jack Muir quickly has to decide who he is going to be. Will he rollover or bare his teeth at the bullies, the bullied and the boarding school? Jack gets by with a quick wit and macabre sense of humour – but not everyone is so lucky. Boy on a Wire depicts alienation and the beginnings of depression with poignancy and humour.

Jon said he always intended to write the book at some stage in his life. When the right time finally arrived it took him five years to write. “I wrote it first as a kids’ book,” he said. “Then I thought: ‘This is a cop-out. It has to be real.’ So I re-wrote it as a raw, serious book, but with lots of humour. I then let it sit for 18 months before coming back to it.”

Jon said it was up to the reader to decide how much truth was in the story. “It’s based on reality. But the reality is distorted,” he said. “I’ve taken incidents in my life and rehashed them. I take a kernel of truth and distort it to suit my bigger purpose, which in this case is making universal comment on the issues of bullying, loss of faith, depression and relationships between fathers and sons and siblings.

“I expect a lot of people will read it and see the immediate truth. Others will see a universal truth.”

And asked whether it’s a one-off, or set to be the start of a series, Jon said he wasn’t sure. “I’m thinking maybe I’ll keep Jack running. I feel I need to give Jack another adventure.”

Bird on a Wire is published by Fremantle Press.

© Christ Church Grammar School

To read the original go here: CCGS

If you want to order the book from your local here are the details:

Title: Boy on a Wire
Author: Jon Doust
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Fremantle Press
ISBN13 9781921361456

Or you could go here: Fremantle Press

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