Wednesday 8 August 2012

SHORT STORY SUMMER - 'The Hallelujah Roof' - Belinda Jeffrey

You may of may not have noticed that I've mentioned the lovely city of Brisbane a fair few times on my blog. When I was last rabbiting on about the place during my travel month way back when, I gave a fleeting reference to the fantastice One Book Many Brisbanes short story competition that is run every year by Brisbane City Council to uncover new, exciting and extremely talented writing folk. Well, it won't be much of a surprise when I tell you that the stories featured are all about Brisbane. Sorry, I'll give you a few minutes while you absorb that information.

Anyway, way back in 2006, the second volume of stories was published, and one new writer that was featured was a lady called Belinda Jeffrey. You also may have read my review of Brown Skin Blue by that same lady (and if not, why not?) It's is one of my favourite YA reads and I urge you to DROP EVERYTHING NOW, hunt down a copy and fall in love with every word, if you have not already done so. Go on, off you go... *flaps hands to shoo you out from under my feet*

...Done? good. Well, now we can move on.

The Hallelujah Roof is a story about a young girl, Jane, who moves to Brisbane with her mother and younger sister to live in a ramshackle Theological College in a run down area of the city in the early 80s. Jane tells the stories of her adventures involving rats in toasters, slaughtering pigs and drinking Brisbane River water with her new friends and companions. It's a story about finding the joy in life's little pleasures, even when other people might perceive you to have very little on the surface.

"There mums smiled like they'd just tried sour lemon fizz, while my mum laughed like a tortured cockatoo, and it was so damn funny, you couldn't help but join in."

For those of you who have read a Belinda Jeffrey book, I don't need to tell you that the writing is beautiful and heartfelt and the voice is impeccable. Jane's innocent sense of humour is ridiculously sweet and even thinking about this story makes me grin like a cheesy fool... And wipe away the beginnings of the tears from the corners of my eyes because I'm such a sucker for a bit of childhood nostalgia, especially childhood nostalgia with a touch of genius about it.

The story is SERIOUSLY good folks and I highly recommend you track down a copy, particularly if you're a fan of Aussie YA, and let's face it, who isn't? (If you're not, please go away and educate yourselves in the ways of Marchetta and Eager and then come back and apologise). If I don't stop now, I'll be in danger of sounding like a creepy stalker fan girl, but I strongly recommend you read, not just this story, but everything by this writer.

This tale has inspired my to try and get my short story mojo back again. I'll keep you posted on how I go...


  1. This sounds amazing! I'm forever in your debt for introducing me to Ms Jeffreys. She's already one of my favourite authors and childhood nostalgia is simply wonderful.

    Brill review, my dear. :)

    1. I'm going to send you my copy of this, promise :)

  2. Thanks so much for posting about this, I love Belinda's work (I still need to read BSB!) I googled The Hallelujah Roof and found a pdf available online :)

  3. Never read anything by her but if you love it, I'm pretty sure I will as well. I really love stories of people experiencing a regular lifestyle (or a lower-class life) but appreciating what they have and finding fun/entertainment in random things. How long is this one?

  4. Lovely review! I've never read Belinda's work so I'll have to pick this up.