Girls Like Funny Boys: A Dark Brisbane Tale

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The weather reminded me of southern California or Spain; in my mind it was perfect. Warm, clear skies and on the water.

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After my time in Brisbane, I made a trip out to Toowoomba. This was a few hours outside of Brisbane and was the edge of the interior part of Australia: a frontier town. Toowoomba is situated on high ground that that allows you to see for miles and miles. I am fascinated by animals, especially the natives of the Outback.

Seeing kangaroos, koalas, wombats, emus and Tasmanian devils up close was too great of a chance to pass up. I was able to hold a Koala and feed a Kangaroo. I also got to see the two most venomous snakes in the world: the death adder the name says it all and the eastern brown snake.

I passed on holding or feeding those two! The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is an amazing wildlife refuge that is a must-see for any visitor to Brisbane.

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  • After a great day of seeing these animals up close, my time in Brisbane had come to a close. So, after getting through security in fifteen minutes, I had a few hours to kill. I cracked open a book and started to read to pass the time. As soon as I opened my book, a guy sitting a few seats down started a conversation with me. Well, he had a lot to say! This guy turned out to be a rancher and was making his first trip to the Big Smoke aka Melbourne in two years.

    Frankly, I was fascinated by what he had to say, so I let him talk away. It was one of those conversations where you only had to ask a question every 10 minutes. He saw them only every three weeks or so. In between, he tended his herd of sheep on his own. It was so red it bordered on purple, the colour of strawberries on the turn. Meet Johnny Goodwin.

    Encouraging school attendance through sport

    He's grown up in a quiet Brisbane suburb with loving parents, a faithful dog and an unrequited yearning for his teenage sweetheart, Angie Everson. Now in his last year at school, he's finally caught her eye by starring in a teacher-baiting pantomime. Dreams are already taking shape of a career in entertainment, perhaps with Angie by his side. And all he's got to do is pass his exams, get to uni and keep away from Gina Wood, that weird girl who once let him touch her….


    But I really didn't expect to find this as engaging, involving and emotional as I did. It's not romantic but it sets Rosie on the course of sexual mishap, to be met with a sturdy self-reliance, that will come to define her. When Rosie goes to England, she falls in love with a boy called Julian, until their tender love-making is interrupted by Rosie's leering godfather, who has her back on QF2 before she can say God Save the Queen.

    Later, to Rosie's delight and ours, she moves in with a handsome, eligible actor, with a pretty nasty problem that surfaces when he has too much to drink. These lusty tales are interspersed with other, more subdued stories about Rosie's friends and relations - in these, the Cautionary Tales sound their most poignant, mournful strains. A woman with tragic obesity, a girl seduced and then destroyed by the allure of rich clothes, two women who've suffered the loss of children, brought together at a deathbed.

    See a Problem?

    Wood's stories have the appeal of the ordinary - the pains and pleasures that all modern girls and women will recognise, even if the specific experience is alien. And she has a talent for descriptions so accurate that we are by her side in an instant, laughing in recognition of exactly what she means.

    Why Girls Always Like Funny Guys

    She is wry and funny and unpretentious - we trust her voice implicitly. The only trouble with these updates of the Brothers Grimm tales is that they are so, well, grim. The stories veer off the path of the ordinary into menacing, awful outcomes that are much less persuasive than the small-scale accuracy of their constituent details. Relationships go wrong in ways that don't quite ring true and Wood's heroines suffer for their mistakes and miscalculations in ways that are out of proportion to the modesty of the stories and their settings.

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