Author: Anita Heiss
Genre: Chick Lit
Opening lines: “…’I’m pregnant,’ Izzy said nervously, squeezing her eyes tight with the fear of the expected response from down the phone lines …”
Blurb: Five women, best friends for decades, meet once a month to talk about books … and life, love and the jagged bits in between. Dissecting each other’s lives seems the most natural thing in the world – and honesty, no matter how brutal, is something they treasure. Best friends tell each other everything, don’t they? But each woman harbours a complex secret and one weekend, without warning, everything comes unstuck. When their circle begins to fracture and the old childhood ways don’t work anymore, is their sense of ‘sistahood’ enough to keep it intact? How well do these tiddas really know each other?
My thoughts: Firstly a definition – Tiddas is a generic eastern coast Aboriginal word for sisters, or women who are as close as sisters (sistahood). So Izzy, Veronica, Xanthe, Nadine and Ellen are Tiddas with each other as they all have grown up together in Mudgee. They are now all middle aged, live in Brisbane and are still very, very close. Each of them takes turns in telling the story, and each has their own issues that they may or may not recognise. Izzy, on the verge of becoming Australia’s version of Oprah, is faced with an unplanned pregnancy which could snatch away her crown before she even gets it; Xanthe is totally obsessed with trying to get pregnant which is straining her marriage and her friendship with Izzy. Ellen is a funeral director and lives life to the fullest as she knows that you have a finite time on earth, she flits from one man to the next and never settles; while all Veronica is wants is her life to have a purpose after her divorce as all her self-esteem disappeared when she signed the papers. Finally there is Nadine, Izzy’s sister in law and a well-known author – she is also an alcoholic.
TIDDAS is a story of friendship, fights, make-ups and loyalty and follows the women over the period of a year or so. While each woman has some serious issues to face, decisions to make, her Tiddas are there to pull her down or prop her up as the occasion requires. Refreshingly for a book about women for women not everyone has a happy ending, and not everyone’s story is totally finished by the end. However what HAS happened is that you have shared, and felt jealous of, and felt angry about issues with five women who you wish were YOUR best friends. Three of the women, Izzy, Xanthe and Ellen are Aboriginal and their cultural heritage plays a large part in the novel. Nadine is married to Izzy’s brother so her husband and children are Aboriginal. It is only natural that the women have an interest in Aboriginal issues and even discuss them – often heatedly – because that is what good friends do. This is no different when I sit down with some of my girlfriends and we discuss what the Prime Minister of the day has done to upset us this week. The conversations get quite fiery until one of us changes the subject, pours another wine and we move on. Once or twice in TIDDAS it did feel a little preachy when Aboriginal issues where introduced but on the whole I loved the story and the many issues touched upon – such alcoholism, mixed marriages, divorce, abortion and family expectations.
Rating: C – Above average. Was very readable and I really liked it but was easily able to put it down and walk away for a while.
For more about the author – Click Here