Review by Darcie Czajkowski
When Annabelle Andrews glides into Tallulah “Lulu” de Longland’s life, Lulu is besotted. By Annabelle’s unqualified comfort in her own skin. By her bewitching artist parents of national fame. And by Annabelle’s instantaneous interest in becoming Lulu’s best and only friend.
Forsaking all others at their elite Catholic school, Lulu and Annabelle are inseparable. They bond over the fact that they both call their parents by the first names, that their mothers have limited parental capacities, and that they feel most alive when they are with each other, communicating through a unique word-blending language. Only when Joshua Keaton enters the picture and becomes Lulu’s first boyfriend does their fold expand to three.
But just before high school graduation, just as Lulu and Josh are making plans to travel abroad, Lulu finds Josh and Annabelle together, at once severing the two lifelines that mattered most to her.
Devastated, Lulu fritters away the next four years, listlessly performing menial office tasks for her father Harry’s successful plumbing business. But Harry sees that his daughter isn’t engaged in her life in any capacity, failing to go on even one date in the years since Annabelle and Josh’s betrayal, and, in an act of love, he fires her and insists that she move to the city an hour and a half away from their sleepy little town of Juniper Bay.
Lulu starts working for Duncan McAllister, a morning radio show host who is prominently known in the industry as the King of the Airwaves. Lulu and Duncan are an odd pairing: Lulu is understated, a caretaker. Duncan has three ex-wives and another one imminent, a gaggle of children, and a loud, demanding personality. But the two form a symbiotic friendship, one that Duncan will ultimately rely on to get him through the most difficult news one can receive in life. In turn, Lulu will be repaid in the most unexpected of ways, encouraged to learn lessons in finding her own happiness, realizing her place in the world, and forgiving not only Annabelle and Josh, but also forgiving herself.
Frances Whiting strikes glittering gold in Walking on Trampolines. At first glance, the story is simple: girl meets boy, boy break girl’s heart, girl doesn’t recover. But as the reader continues to parse the delicate folds of this story, she is taken on a journey that spans complicated home lives, the realization that everyone deserves happiness, the challenges in surviving loss, and the freedom that is found in forgiveness. With layered characters, vivid setting depictions, and a remarkably original premise, I was captivated by this story and encourage you to set foot into Lulu’s world in the coastal town of Juniper Bay, Australia.
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Frances Whiting is one of Australia's best known and favourite columnists. For more than fifteen years her Sunday Mail column has engaged readers in the highs, lows and the wonderful of the every day. She is also an award winning journalist and Senior Feauture writer for Q Weekend Magazine in the Courier Mail. She has published two collections of her columns: Oh To Be A Marching Girl, and That's A Home Run, Tiger! Walking on Trampolines is her first novel.
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