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Black Painted Fingernails Paperback – 1 Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin; Original edition (1 Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 174237459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742374598
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,577,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steven Herrick is an Australian poet and author who has published twenty-one books for children and young adults. His books have twice won the NSW Premiers Literary Award (2000, 2005) and have been shortlisted seven times for Book of the Year in the Children's Book Council of Australia Book Awards.
He regularly tours throughout Australia, Asia and Europe performing his work in schools and at festivals.
in 2012, he published his first travel book, 'baguettes and bicycles: a cycling adventure across France.' This was followed by 'bordeaux and bicycles: a cycling journey along the canals of France' and 'bratwurst and bicycles: a cycling adventure along the Danube.'
He is an avid football (soccer) fan and cyclist who lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife, Cathie. They have two adult sons, Jack and Joe.

Product Description

Review

'A good beach or airplane read for young adult readers.' --Luxury Reading

About the Author

STEVEN HERRICK was born in Brisbane, the youngest of seven children. At school his favourite subject was soccer, and he dreamed of football glory while he worked at various jobs, including fruit picking. Now he writes for children and teenagers and visits many schools each year. He loves talking to the students and their teachers about poetry and soccer. He lives in the Blue Mountains with his wife and two sons.


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By Cloggie Downunder TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Aug 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Black Painted Fingernails is the 6th book by Australian writer Steven Herrick. The story starts with James Spalding, a student teacher, setting out west to the town of Hillston for his first teacher-training round. He's setting out with a cut lunch from his mother, Angela, a gleaming new red BMW M3 from Michael, his dad (a well-off surgeon) and also with a definite lack of enthusiasm. Sophie, owner of the Black Painted Fingernails, is twenty-one, looks gorgeous, wild and unconventional and is hitching a ride back home. She approaches him at a petrol station for a ride. James, young, inexperienced and (by his own admission) a bit geeky, is overwhelmed by her cockiness, and finds himself with a passenger. The story is told in several voices: James is detailing what happens to him and to Sophie on the trip west; Sophie details what has happened in her life to bring her to this point; Angela and Michael separately detail their anxieties about James on this, his first time away from home. At Sophie's suggestion, they enter the "Truth Factory", and learn a great deal about each other. James admits that he doesn't know what he does want, but he is quite certain he doesn't want "my mother to tidy my room or buy my underwear or find me a suitable girlfriend. I don't want to be a teacher". Herrick sets a great scene: the reader feels present in the story from page 1. The dialogue is authentic, the characters quickly become people you care about and the plot is realistic. This novel has some lessons to teach: decide what is really important in your life; think carefully about burning all your bridges, as you may want to use them to go back home; stay connected with the people you care about and tell them you love them, they could be gone tomorrow. This is a heart-warming tale and an easy read.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
A lovely story 12 Jun 2014
By Alastair Browne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well-written novel which moves at a reasonable pace. I wish I had reviewed it immediately after I read it because it had a warm impact on me. I shall follow the author.
a heart-warming tale 2 Aug 2011
By Cloggie Downunder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Black Painted Fingernails is the 6th book by Australian writer Steven Herrick. The story starts with James Spalding, a student teacher, setting out west to the town of Hillston for his first teacher-training round. He's setting out with a cut lunch from his mother, Angela, a gleaming new red BMW M3 from Michael, his dad (a well-off surgeon) and also with a definite lack of enthusiasm. Sophie, owner of the Black Painted Fingernails, is twenty-one, looks gorgeous, wild and unconventional and is hitching a ride back home. She approaches him at a petrol station for a ride. James, young, inexperienced and (by his own admission) a bit geeky, is overwhelmed by her cockiness, and finds himself with a passenger. The story is told in several voices: James is detailing what happens to him and to Sophie on the trip west; Sophie details what has happened in her life to bring her to this point; Angela and Michael separately detail their anxieties about James on this, his first time away from home. At Sophie's suggestion, they enter the "Truth Factory", and learn a great deal about each other. James admits that he doesn't know what he does want, but he is quite certain he doesn't want "my mother to tidy my room or buy my underwear or find me a suitable girlfriend. I don't want to be a teacher". Herrick sets a great scene: the reader feels present in the story from page 1. The dialogue is authentic, the characters quickly become people you care about and the plot is realistic. This novel has some lessons to teach: decide what is really important in your life; think carefully about burning all your bridges, as you may want to use them to go back home; stay connected with the people you care about and tell them you love them, they could be gone tomorrow. This is a heart-warming tale and an easy read. I did wonder if the author used "chaise lounge" (three times!) intentionally, tongue-in-cheek, or if both authors and proof-readers can't spell these days. Am I showing my age? This novel is described as Young Adult Fiction. I am not a Young Adult, but I very much enjoyed it, none-the-less.
Wonderful road trip with an unfurling narrative and two compelling character's riding shot-gun. 15 Jun 2011
By Dee18 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
With the toss of a coin James finds himself with company on his way to the country. Sophie with her black fingernails and slipping black dress is going as far as James can take her.

While James is leaving home for the first time, Sophie is returning after a long absence.

Along the way they'll share laughs, burgers and secrets.

`Painted Black Fingernails' is the new young adult novel from Australian author Steven Herrick.

James and Sophie's story is based on the assumption that you can always open up to a stranger because you've got nothing to lose by telling them your secrets. On the dusty highways and backwoods roads leading into the country Sophie and James trade banter and stories that slowly open them up to hard truths and old scars.

James and Sophie couldn't be more different. James grew up in privilege, firmly attached to his mother's apron-strings and benefitting from his father's job as a surgeon. He studied hard in school and had few friends, and as he heads into the country for his first teaching job in a primary school, James reflects on all that pushed him out of home. He seems at once elated and terrified to be leaving the nest, while at the same time we begin to understand that the path he's currently on is not necessarily of his own choosing.

James was a lovely and sweet character, if a little dull. He's very sheltered and almost fragile - and despite being a bit of a drip, there's a lot of him that's relatable. He's just beginning his adult life, and thrilled to be leaving his over-protective mother behind . . . but still terrified of the big, bad world and unsure of his place in it. Sophie is the perfect antidote to James's fragility. By contrast she's brash and funny, alluring and evasive. She has more secrets than James to share, and more to lose by going home.

The story is told from alternating chapters between James and Sophie, and James's mother and father whom he has left back home. I'm still not sure if the mother/father perspectives were necessary. Beyond better understanding James's claustrophobic home life, I think these narratives were more intended to let young readers know how hard parents have it when they find themselves with an empty nest. Perhaps this is Herrick asking his home-leaving readers to take a care for those they're leaving behind?

Two strangers in a car, one leaving home while the other is returning. A boy who is finally admitting what he wants out of life and a girl who needs to face the family she left behind. `Black Painted Nails' is a wonderful little character road trip with an unfurling narrative and two compelling protagonist's riding shot-gun.
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