Playing House (Amy Choi, Transit Lounge)
Playing House is a memoir from Melbourne writer Amy Choi which divides the author’s adult life into three parts: her big trip to Europe in her early 20s; living in Melbourne and offering foster care to a troubled teen; and motherhood. Choi writes with self-depreciating humour and many readers will identify with the struggles that come with backpacking through unfamiliar European cities. In a sense this is very much a travel journal, and anyone who has experienced the lonesome hostels of overseas trips will appreciate her accurate observations. Choi’s take on Melbourne is also spot-on and locals will be able to pick the suburbs and even street corners that feature in her life. However, while there is much that is interesting about this memoir, it is also rather disjointed, as the book’s three parts each end abruptly. They are also curiously uneven in length-half of the book is set in Europe with several chapters in Melbourne and a mere 30 pages outlining motherhood and Choi’s trip to Hong Kong. Furthermore, while Choi may be aiming to alert the reader to the various strains in her life, some parts do read like a bit of a whinge.
Felicity Ryan has awarded Playing House two and a half stars out of five. Felicity is an employee at the Sun Bookshop in Yarraville