Author: Paul Kennedy
Publisher: Affirm Press, South Melbourne, Vic
Publication date: 2021
Reviewer: Jill Fulcher
Paul Kennedy, ex-ABC Breakfast presenter and journalist, grew up in Frankston, Victoria.
His sister called Frankston ‘Funkytown’, hence the title of the book.
Whilst it is autobiographical, it only follows Paul during his final year of high school, and all the highs and lows that occurred.
During this same year Frankston was caught up in a paralysing state of fear, as local women were being murdered.
Paul describes the suburb and the community during this time in vivid detail.
Paul started that year with high hopes of being drafted into the AFL and meeting the girl of his dreams.
The year that followed failed to meet his dreams, with him getting arrested, expelled, and undrafted. Paul tells the distinctively Australian story about teenage boys and the rites of passage they go through – binge drinking, frequent violence and suppressing anything remotely emotional.
Paul was on the path of self-destruction, but a few special teachers managed to inspire in him the love of words and writing.
This led him on another path at the end of his schooling when football would not be an option.
Paul is unfailingly honest in his telling of his and his friends’ behaviour regarding girls, excessive drinking, and football (the love of his life). He openly admits to his failings and the shames and insecurities he felt.
I am not an AFL fan, so some of the story went over my head.
However, I am a PK fan from his time on ABC Breakfast TV and thoroughly enjoyed this read.
Funkytown is a harsh and honest account of the nineties and the journey a young man makes on his way to being an adult.
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