- Book: Everybody Jam
- Location: The Outback
- Author: Ali Lewis
Set on a cattle station in the Northern Territory, during a long, hot summer, Everybody Jam is narrated by 13 year old Danny Dawson, whose family run the station. Life has not been kind to them recently. They are grieving for the loss of the eldest son Jonny, who has been killed in an accident. 14 year old Sissy is pregnant, and won’t say who the father is. The drought is threatening their livelihood. It’s nearly time for the annual muster, the last before Danny is sent away to boarding school, and the first without Jonny. Danny has a lot to prove. The tension as well as the heat is increasing.
The book is an unflinching look at life in the Australian outback, where the family are battling the harsh landscape as well as difficult family relationships. A young English backpacker, Liz, is drafted in to help when Mrs Dawson finds that she can no longer cope, and in spite of her inexperience and youth becomes the catalyst which will possibly help the whole family come to terms with their grief and loss.
Essentially a young adult novel, this is a touching coming-of-age tale, and in its descriptions of the landscape and life on a cattle station is a vivid evocation of an unfamiliar world.
And Everybody Jam? Well, that’s apricot jam – because everybody likes it.