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A Pen Pal’s Journey from Down Under to All Over

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  2. REVIEW: Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over by Geraldine Brooks.
  3. Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal’s Journey from Down Under to All Over by Geraldine Brooks.
  4. Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over by Geraldine Brooks.
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Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Read reviews that mention geraldine brooks pen pals foreign correspondence loved this book bland street pen pal foreign correspondent historical fiction growing up in australia well written child growing brought back wanted to know around the world young girl brooks books wonderful read enjoyed this book family life years later.

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Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over

Since then I have been addicted to her intelligent style of writing. My only disappointment is that this wonderfully skilled author hasn't written more. As this is a memoir rather than a historical novel, I didn't know what to expect. But as I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, I found myself transported back to my childhood as the fine details of her early years are explored.

As so often is the case, it is the small details that give these memoirs poignancy You can almost smell the home cooking and feel the excitement of exploring new things as a youngster as you read through the early pages. As her book progresses, lightly touching on her amazing career, I became more aware of just what a person with a vision can achieve. When she explores what happened to some of her friends from those years, and how their lives diverged it left me wondering about the things which shape our lives, for better or for worse.

I personally found that this book took me on a journey that was thought-provoking, sometimes sad, and at other times inspirational - but always interesting. Australian born Geraldine Brooks spent many years as a foreign correspondent covering the Middle East. I loved her book, "Nine Parts of Desire" which was about Muslim women, and I have followed her life somewhat as she is often mentioned by her husband, Tony Horwitz, in his books "Confederates in the Attic", "Baghdad Without a Map," and "One for the Road. As a child growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood on a street actually called "Bland Street", she yearned for a larger world.

And so she developed pen pals. There was a girl from New Jersey, another one from France, and even one from an upper class neighborhood just a few towns away. And then there were two Israeli boys, one an Arab and one a Jew. As an adult, she found these old letters in her father's basement and, now more than twenty years later, she decided to look up each of these people. What follows is the result of her quest and some wonderful insights into world events from a personal one-on-one perspective.

As a teenager in the early seventies she was aware of the new consciousness developing, even reaching her in her protective Catholic school. She had an active imagination and the gift of using words well. It's not surprising that she developed pen pals and that they influenced her life so much. Her gift of words certainly reached me too. I shared her sense of wonder and enthusiasm as she looked forward to each letter.

Foreign Correspondence

I felt her straining to break the bonds of her loving but restrictive world. I felt her hopes and dreams and frustrations. And then, later, I shared her discoveries as she searched out the people who had meant so much to her early life. She writes with a clear voice, painting a picture with details, taking me on her quest to discover the world and eventually to discover herself.

The book is short, a mere pages but she sure does pack a lot into it. It's a wonderful read. I have always enjoyed Geraldine Brooks' stories an writing. This story was unique because it was her biography of her very active life as a journalist and reporter for the Wall Street Journal and others. She traveled all over the world to cover war stories and other important stories.

Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks |

She had a very unique family life lived mostly in Australia. She had pen-pals in various places around the world, because of her worldly curiosity as a child, and followed up later by visiting all the pen-pals about twenty years later. When I bought this book, it did not immediately imply to me that it was biographical. Just because it was by Geraldine Brooks, simply I bought it. This was a most surprising and enjoyable biography. Glad to have read it, this story reaffirmed how much pleasure this talented and clever writer seems to provide me with.

Geraldine Brooks grew up in a sleepy neighbourhood in Sydney without a car, without ever making an international phone call or getting on a plane. To explore the world from her house she made pen pals and wrote to people from New Jersey, France, Israel and even not so far away in the Eastern Suburbs. Later in life, she decided to meet them all. Having only moved to this country recently it was nice to see what it was like back in the day, when the first wave of non-blonde, blue-eyed people came.

Brooks talks about her family and neighbours with fondness and her interactions with her pen pals showed how the typical Australian viewed the outside world and how they viewed Australia. Her relationships with her pen pals are quite poignant, especially with Joanie, her New Jersey pen pal, who suffered from anorexia.

Brooks maintains a friendship with her family to this day. Her adventures reconnecting with her pen pals are also interesting, given the paranoia in this day and age, and I was actually surprised to find everyone welcoming and not suspicious of this random woman searching them out! I thought this book was lovely, even if at times a bit sad, and would recommend this for an armchair read for someone looking for a little bit of recent history and adventure, not just from out in the wide world but also from their own backyards.

Was it ever really provincial even in the 60s?