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The Things We Promise by J. C. Burke
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The Things We Promise

by J. C. Burke

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This book should never have been written let alone published.

I found Gemma to be completely unlikeable. she is self-absorbed, bratty, and far to intent on 'getting off'. I can't say what 16 year olds in 1990 were like but I could not make common ground with this girl at all.

And the writing style, what on earth was the author thinking? Such as on page 37 "I stood up, my hungry bum, swallowing my red-striped undies, was on full show for everyone to see. Including Ralph.” There is NOTHING right about this sentence. This sentence, no this book is so bad that at page 50 I give up. ( )
  Arabbitinwonderland | Mar 30, 2017 |
Omg! A book set in Australia in the 1990s is now classed as history! Burke has done a fantastic job of recreating the time through references to ads on Tv, expressions used, fashions and famous people. This is the story of Gemma whose gay brother Billy is a famous stylist in New York and has promised to come back to Australia to do Gemma's look for her formal at the end of the year. He has also promised to do the same for 2 of her friends so Gemma must choose who will be done.
But this is the age of the new killer disease stricking down members of the gay community like bowling pins, and after Gemma catches her mother making secret phone calls to her brother, she suspects something terrible is about to happen.
This is a book about the terrible effects of AIDS - the fear in the community of any gay person having it and passing it on, and then the fear of close family also having the disease. Then there are the awful physical effects - the lack of immunity that lead to death from pneumonia or worse a cat related disease that caused you to go insane while you wasted away.
Once again, I bawled my eyes out at the end of this, so engrossed was I with the characters in the story.
Due to swearing, sexual descriptions and other issues, this is for mature readers. ( )
  nicsreads | Mar 25, 2017 |
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There are two things you need to know about me. The first is that I remember life by what I was wearing. The second is that I think too much ? It's the early 1990s and all Gemma can think about is looking perfect for her first school formal. Gemma's brother Billy - New York's up and coming hair and make-up artist - has made her the ultimate promise: he's returning home especially to 'create magic' on her and two friends for their end-of-year formal. Gemma's best friend, Andrea, is convinced it'll be their moment to shine; Gemma hopes it's the night Ralph will finally notice her ? But when Billy arrives home from New York, Gemma's life becomes complicated. Her family's been keeping secrets; friendships are forged and broken; and suddenly the length of her formal dress is the least of her worries ? Set in a time of uncertainty and fear, The Things We Promise is a beautifully told novel that sings with emotion, humour and heartbreak.… (more)

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