Title: Bright Side of My Condition, The
Authors: Randall, Charlotte
Genre: Fiction: New Zealand
Pages: 244
Year: 2014
Language: English
Description: Given a choice of joining the crew of the ship they have stowed away on, or being left on an island with meagre supplies, convicts Bloodsworth, Slangam, Toper and Gargantua opt for the latter. But this is not just any island, it is one of the Snares Islands and a more inhospitable spot hard to find. Swapping one prison (Norfolk Island penal colony) for another, they are to spend almost a decade in their struggle to survive on this sub Antarctic outpost. Time enough for relationships to be developed ... and destroyed, and for sense to be made of their lives and their place in the world.

Based on a true story, this is compelling reading with vividly portrayed 19th Century characters pondering the human condition in adversity. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups:

Most found the vernacular offputting at the start, but found by persevering that the book had much to offer, generating a good discussion... Putaruru 001

Five 70+ readers, all with different tastes all really enjoyed it. The booknotes were great. All of us found it easy to sink into the language. Doubts about whether men could could live in such an inhospitable climate, were dismissed when we thought of Shackleton and crew surviving in Antarctica. Highly recommended....Auckland 020

Interesting, but not an easy read, although the slang language and expressions of the times were quite well managed. We felt the story was somewhat forced and could have been shortened for better effect...Christchurch 323

Our group's response to this book was diverse. This in turn led to some very robust discussion. Two people read only a portion of the story, and gave up because of the language and type of writing. On the other hand, three people loved it from start to finish. The remainder found it a slow start, but were pleased to have persevered as the story and the strengths and weaknesses of the characters evolved. Whangarei 002

The book promoted such a great discussion. Recommended as a great book group book. Parnassus 001

Categories: Fiction - New Zealand, Community, Historical, Morals/Ethics, Psychology, Relationships, 2016 Titles, Blind Foundation book, Larger font


[Please log in to write a review]
By: CART 001 2019-04-10 12:56:51
Very sad. Readers need to get past the style of writing, especially the conversations. Without the style of language it wouldn't have worked. The development of the characters was great. Highly recommended.

By: TAIH 002 2019-02-15 12:45:11
The most stimulating discussion we've had for a long while! Even those who did not particularly like the book found that it held them. Beautifully crafted story.

By: MARTIN 005 2018-05-29 20:21:57
Only 3 out of 6 managed to finish the book. It was a study in endurance for those who persevered. The penguins were a highlight, otherwise did not enjoy at all.

By: CHCH 446 2018-05-23 13:25:15
Some of our group found the heavy use of the vernacular a challenge which detracted from their reading experience. Responses varied, with some unable to finish it, and others who soldiered on and felt that it was very well written. Not an easy read, and there was a lot of discussion about the ending. There was more a sense of endurance rather than enjoyment, but we all agreed that it was good to be challenged, and an interesting read neverthe less, with excellent characterisation. ChCh 446

The Book Discussion 
Scheme is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations in Aotearoa New Zealand
BDS is a member of the Federation of Workers Educational Associations