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April Fool's Day Paperback – 6 Aug 1998


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Product details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Australia; New edition edition (6 Aug. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140272933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140272932
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 3.9 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By VENTURINI VIVIANA on 17 Jan. 2004
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of Bryce Courtenay, and have read all his books. This one tells the true story of his last son, Damon, who was born with haemophilia and went through a very hard life, still one full of love and joy. I found myself crying for what happened to Damon, from the purple head episode in hospital to the AIDS he caught during a blood transfusion. And I do completely agree with what Damon said, whatever your problem is, HEALTH is a gift, the most precious one we possess, together with LOVE. The book is about love against the odds, the prejudice, the injustice of a health and political system in Australia in the 1980s; it is full of details and vivid images, and I can imagine how hard it was for the author to write about his own experience, and the suffering in trying to explain in a clear way what exactly happened to him and his family those days. Everyone who has been through a quite serious illness will love this book, as I did. Thanks, Bryce.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda Bulger on 16 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
PRIL FOOL'S DAY was the hardest book Bryce Courtenay ever wrote, and it's also one of the hardest books I ever read. I started it (the first time) on a Friday evening and did nothing but read (and occasionally try to sleep) until I had finished it -- I couldn't imagine stepping out of the middle of the story into my own life. I've read this book, given it away, bought it again, several times: it's not a book you can forget.

Courtenay's son Damon was born in Australia with severe haemophilia. Along with the moving story of an afflicted but strong-spirited boy, Courtenay paints a bitter and angry picture of the Australian medical community at that time, steeped in paternalism and political expediency.

Several times a week Damon would bleed into his joints, and his father would take him to the hospital for infusion of Factor VIII to induce clotting. In other countries families were allowed to stock Factor VIII and infuse at home, minimizing both disruption to the family and permanent damage to joints. This was not permitted in Australia, to the extreme detriment of haemophiliacs and their families.

Worse than this, the screening and fractionation of donated blood in Australia did not at that time meet safety standards known and required in other countries. Damon contracted AIDS from the contaminated Australian blood supply and died of that disease on April Fool's Day in 1991.

The book is saturated with the author's bitterness, and the reader can't fail to walk his angry path with him. You WANT it to have been different, you WANT to find a justification or at least an exculpation for the medical mismanagement of Damon and the entire cohort of haemophiliacs in that time and place.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M.J Lambert on 8 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read.
Being new to the writings of Courtenay I have read The Power of One and Tandia and enjoyed them both immensely. I picked up April Fools Day as at the time I wanted to read more of Courtenay's work and it was the only one of his books available. I do not normally read books like this but I am so glad that I did. Courtenay's own life is laid bare amoung the pages, told with heart rendering honesty and in great detail.
I have laughed and cried through the pages along with Bryce and his family. This is truly the most powerful and moving book I have ever read, a story about family, love, determination and human spirit.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. BARRY on 7 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
As a mother of two sons who live with severe haemophilia, this book was a most poignant read I would urge anyone who is affected with haemophilia in any shape or form please read this book. It will put your life into perspective and if like me you are lucky enough not to have been infected with hiv or hep C you really will count your blessings, it also gives a true to life account of life for a boy suffering the pain of joint bleeds etc trying to lead a normal life in a time though not that long ago appear antiquated by today's standards believe me you'll never take your Haemophilia centre for granted again.
This book is most certainly not all doom and gloom it is at time's very funny not giving to much from the story Damon is the type of boy and later in his life a man you'd be proud to call your son or friend his life stood for somthing the reason I think his father Bryce captured his sons life in print quite simply Damon's life mattered. I don't think I have ever found any book so hard to finish I had three attempts to read the final chapter each time having to close the book because it affected me so deeply. This story is about life and love, even if life deals you a bad deck of cards look to the stars and thank them for each little blessing in your life. Never look at the negative and never give up on life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
I first heard of this book after reading his previous novels, Power of One & Tandia. I ploughed through those books with some speed and laughed and cried at his writers prose. I picked up April Fools Day expecting the same. But to my surprise it took me over a week to read (sometimes unable to put the book down of an evening) and the last chapter took me about 4 days to read as the way it was written bit through to my soul and I felt I was witnessing or at least involved to the end of Damon's life, I felt that I had known him personally and cried for him just as I would the death of a friend. Truly worth the read!
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