UQP, $12.95 pb
In 1983, Bill Dodd was nearly eighteen when he dived into a river and nearly lost his life. Dodd warns against diving carelessly into waterholes: ‘It can give you a lot of unnecessary hassles, take it from me.’ This laconic understatement is characteristic of Dodd’s account of his life. He is now a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair for life. Yet, without straining credibility, Dodd manages to convince you that he is a lucky man.
In crisp, direct prose Dodd tells his story of growing up as a Murri in Mitchell in southern Queensland. A cheerfully tough kid, young Dodd was willing to throw a few punches, especially at anyone crass enough to make remarks about his Aboriginality. But Dodd describes a happy childhood. His hero was his father, a stockman and horse breaker. His love was, and remains, horses.