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April Fool's Day Hardcover – 13 Sep 1993

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 449 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd (13 Sept. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434000361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434000364
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,183,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The fact that this book is a true story is what makes it all the more gut wrenching to read. Bryce Courtney is very open and honest about his feelings and his (perceived) weaknesses. For a family to survive the ordeal they went through with Damon, to my mind, proves what a strong and loving family and especially father, Damon had. It is unforgivable how Damon and his family were treated by some of the callous, thoughtless medical so-called experts. Treating him as a unique specimen to be photographed and poked and prodded was sickening. The book raised a lot of highly emotive feelings for me. I can't say I enjoyed the book, it was not an enjoyable experience reading about someone who suffered as this young man did. However it is well worth reading because he was such a brave and strong minded person, I found myself almost hoping that the ending wasn't as we knew it was going to be.
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