Sunday 22 July 2012

Beyond the Break - Sandra Hall


Setting: Sydney, 1950 and 1980

Journalist, Steph, returns to Australia after the suicidal of her best friend Annie. Both her and Annie shared a childhood together on the beaches of Coogee, Sydney before they ventured for their own aspirations. Beyond the Break recounts the events of their teenage years as a way of Steph attempting to determine the reasons to Annie's death.


Sandra Hall depicts both the 50's and 60's realistically. As a teenager of the 21st Century, the thought of those two eras can sometimes be a bore. Yet, Hall paints the images of Coogee's beaches and Sydney's developing city to be a maze of adventure and excitement. It is effortless to ease into the summer that Hall introduces and then get caught up in the fast-paced moments that occur when Steph is older.

Beyond the Break addresses the issues all too familiar to us. Family, friendship, love and everything else that is tied to that. Rivalries that occur between best friends that become a threesome. Teenage crushes blooming from just one look and a hurried kiss. The difficulty of communication between mother and daughter. It hits close to home, more so to the female gender. It is this that makes Hall's novel a success. The aspects that are so relatable, which engages your own response.

Except there are parts in the novel, which can be quite confusing. Parts that are skimmed over too hurriedly so that it's either 1) Hall had difficulty elaborating or 2) it was unnecessary to the entire plot. I back the latter.

You can get a lot out of the novel if you're willing. It's an easy read even with the length. I drifted right through to the end and picked up the conclusion, even if it was a little vague. Beyond the Break leaves us with real, solid feelings that is satisfying. It was enjoyable and a definite to relax the mind from intense thrillers or sappy romances.

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