Reviewed by Lorraine Dobbie
Peace, Love and Khaki Socks
by Kim Lock
Midnight Sun Publishing
26th April 2013, Paperback, ISBN: 9780987380920
In Peace, Love and Khaki Socks, Kim Lock, in her first novel has captured with graphic snapshots, a young woman’s rite of passage from pre-pubescent adolescence to being a mother at just 24 years of age.
When her boyfriend, Dylan is posted to Darwin it was like a ticket to freedom for Amy, courtesy of the Australian Armed Forces. In Darwin, Amy, at twenty years of age, enjoys total autonomy, away from both of their fussing families. With her university degree completed, an ABN and a Macbook she was set on a course of a successful career doing freelance ad design for Darwin’s top advertising agency. Plus she has Dylan there to make her laugh and call her affectionate legume names like Mungbean.
Her childhood in crisp, dry, temperate Victoria as the daughter of an organic food café proprietor had left her as somewhat of a social introvert, a non-Army wife, who describes herself as a pacifist hippy in love with a gun-toting soldier. She did not fit into the army married quarters society of mindless wifey gossip and blokey army politics. Her life was satisfying though and she had one good friend, Hannah.
Four years into a stable relationship with Dylan, Amy does a pregnancy test and when the stick turns pink, her comfortable, carefree existence is overturned. One missed contraceptive pill throws her into a life-changing pregnancy. Parenthood was something not on her or Dylan’s radar.
For the duration of her pregnancy her mind and life are full of ambivalence and apprehension. Visits to her GP and a cold, clinical Obstetrician and tales from friends of miscarriage, bizarre induction procedures, convenient Caesarian operations cause her to make the bold decision to do homebirth with a midwife. This decision seems to her husband, family and society in general to be very foolish and controversial.
The novel’s strength is the very personal journey the reader takes alongside Amy as she weighs up conventional First World medical procedures with the almost Cavewoman-style natural homebirthing. It is a suspenseful ride with her as she battles conventions, the expectations of others as well as a category three tropical cyclone to boot.
Be prepared, as the description of the birthing is raw, primal, gritty and non-sugar-coated and not usually dealt with in a novel to this depth. Another feature is the brilliant imagery used to describe the setting of Darwin, Australia’s most northern capital. Sweaty, humid, monsoonal, oppressively hot complete with blood-sucking insects, Darwin seems to magnify the drama associated with the intricacies of the female reproductive process. An stirring story of a girl becoming an independent woman.
About the reviewer: Lorraine Dobbie works as a teacher/librarian in the Independent Learning Centre of a leading private Girls High School in Sydney, Australia. In this role she teaches Research Skills and Literature appreciation. She has had a Literature unit of work published for teachers which used a novel study as a vehicle to teach Asian Studies in the English classroom. Her passion is to instil a love of reading to the students in her classes through the promotion of quality novels. She is a regular reviewer for Fiction Focus, an Australian magazine which is published by the Western Australia Dept. of Education. A recent book she reviewed, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James inspired her to create a book trailer about that novel as a tribute to the Brontes. http://www.syriejames.com/videos.php She aspires to be a professional book editor/reviewer/trailer creator.