Albert Facey was a storyteller. Australian born in the late 1800’s, his mother abandoned him at just two years of age. From then on, he led a remarkable life from being farmed out at a young age (to cruel and kind families alike), working in agriculture and lifestock, serving during World War I at Gallipoli, surviving the Depression and the loss of a son during World War II. Facey often told these stories to his children, who begged him to write them down for future generations. As it happened, the publisher convinced Facey to release his story to a wider audience than just his family, and I’m so glad he did.
Although an Australian story, it reminds me of stories I’ve heard from older American men who had similar experiences. Poverty creates situations where parents can no longer care for their children, and in the old days, these kids were vulnerable and forced to grow up quickly. As a mother, I was horrified at the circumstances this young boy found himself in and how terribly people can treat a child. But he also had good moments – he persevered and seemed to understand how important education was in order to for him get ahead. Not only did he adopt vocational learning, but he sought out people who could help with simple reading and writing skills as well.
I loved Facey’s story because it was a piece of history and because it showed how a person can appreciate one’s life – even one that is filled with trials and tribulations.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1981