Oliver Mol’s début memoir, Lion Attack!, began as an online series titled ‘34 Memories of Growing Up in Texas’. As he relates in the foreword, he wrote these pieces of ‘sudden memoir’ on consecutive days and then uploaded them straight to Facebook. It was only when the series was completed and collated that Mol thought he might have something. The series won Mol the inaugural Scribe Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers in 2013 and the opportunity to publish the old-fashioned way.
These vignettes are where Mol’s writing is at its best. They crackle with energy and convey the otherworldliness of an America seen through the eyes of an Australian child. They are slotted between a contemporaneous story that traces the path of a twenty-something Mol who is now living in Melbourne but still struggling to find himself. Mol is writing the book we are now reading; he works in a warehouse and pursues a romantic interest, Lisa, whom he met online. While they share a coming-of-age theme, the two narrative threads don’t quite come together.