“Then the sky cracks open and the light shines through.”

Cracked by Clare Strahan (Allen & Unwin, 2014) has all things I love in a book: a waddling senior staffy, nature, graffiti, hot ranga who rides bmx, one angry young woman. My regular refrain: how did it take me so long to find this, get around to read it. Also, how has this book not won awards?? I’ll give it one now: Fav Book I Just Finished Reading.

“Imagine that – you leave your country and they change the name while you’re gone, so in a way, you can never go home.”


“What do I need more problems for? Why are you loading us up with problems?”

Clover has all sorts of reasons to be angry and it gets her in all kinds of trouble at school. Also rekindles a friendship outside the principal’s office.

“There is no sane explanation for parents.”

Clover’s anger might be genetic and I love how we get to see her mum’s life as well as Clover’s. Long ago she replaced anger with hippy dippy weirdness which Clover isn’t always happy with. How can a teenager live without Facebook!? She’s glad the whole home-schooling idea was shut down.

“God only knows what kind of freak I’d end up being if my mother were the only person to have influence over me.”

Aunty Jen (is that her name) fills us in on Clover’s mum’s youthful antics.

“Poor woman. She had a nervous breakdown in the end.”
“That wasn’t completely my fault.”
“It was a group effort, true, but still: she probably still has nightmares about you.”

Clover’s Mum’s record collection is to die for. How I love Portishead, and how many years is it since I listened to them? Must get onto that. And a book reading bmx riding hottie *swoon* I’m glad Keek told Clover And the Ass saw the Angel is brilliant. The first time I saw my friend Jarrah reading Harry Potter in between judging a skate comp, that really was a day to remember.

When a new art teacher starts at school, Clover’s art really comes to the fore. I wonder if they go through so many teachers because of Clover!?

“Meditative finger painting. I don’t suppose da Vinci ever had to put up with crap like this.”

Another channel for her anger is environmental activism. When Clover watched the tree being felled and wondered if it was murder, Yes Clover it is. Her activism started her career in graffiti, but I can’t remember any outcome to the protests. Maybe I missed whether the creek was saved or not in the general abruptness of the finale.

And the graffiti. At a certain point I got somewhat shirty about all the things Strahan got wrong with the graf. But maybe I’m the one who got it wrong. It’s not like I ever went bombing, I just ministered to the injuries from climbing barbed wire to get away from Security. There was a whole lot Strahan got very right.

“People don’t understand tags.”

When Clover tells Keek people don’t need to “get” a tag – Yes. And graffers do develop their style over time. Just look at Bug – stylin’ forever

bug in Perth

Onto the night that got away from Clover and Keek. The train ride convo was well done. But yeah, the whole dress-up party taken out of context – meh. Skipping the verdict/sentencing was a total cop-out. There’s no way they would have got no punishment – community service at the very least. The lawyer’s aside is a clever comment on our society’s casual racism:

“The main thing in our favour is that the kids were born here and are white.”

There’s more: trampling all over slut shaming.

“We snuggle up for warmth and sit there, Cock-tease Katie and Vandal-girl, daughter of Slut.”

Shadow the dog masquerading as Lucille

“Half my heart’s been chopped away. I slide down the wall and cry. The dog settles against me with a sigh.”

Oh Lucille!

RIP Shane Cross

“Make beauty from pain – there’s a kind of joy in that; and maybe that’s what art is for?”

Oh yeah, I love Fitzroy Bowl (above in 2007). The bowl at Subiaco in Perth is based on it and Subi is my fav Perth skate park.

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When the boiz r in town….its goin d d down.

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“They’ve already found answers to the problems you can’t yet even conceive… When you discover what the problems are, you’ll also discover you have the solutions.”