“I'll never forget the first time John and I saw number 26. We just knew it was going to be ours. It was so awful and ugly and repulsive in every way.”
I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I love autobiographies written by people who seemed to have no clue what they were doing but eventually turned out okay. I'm a sucker for that sweet, sweet blend of schadenfreude and hope. This book delivers on that front. Australian stand-up comedian and writer Denise Scott (of The Big Gig and Winners and Losers), writes candidly about life in her home at number 26, complete with clutter, marital problems, teenage birthday parties and the uncertainty and self doubt that comes with building a career in the arts. I could relate a little too well to the problem of the mouldy bed and and the accumulation of random junk for possible future art projects (I recently discovered a bag of pottery shards that has somehow followed me through 6 moves in the hope that I might one day turn them into a mosaic garden ornament). Not so much to the difficulty of helping a child on stilts to sit on a toilet, though the mental image did make me giggle.
While Denise's life has not been without struggles, including discovering she had a bicornate uterus, which was expected to lead to infertility (spoilers, she is now a mother to two grown children), their poignancy is balanced with a dry wit, and her ability to find the positive in just about everything. I laughed out loud at Denise's attempt to bake an allergy friendly (wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, nut-free, taste-free) birthday cake for her eczema prone children, and at the other cake related incident which I will not spoil for you (suffice to say it was magnificent).
All That Happened At Number 26 is a heartwarming and very funny insight into the life of an inspiring Australian woman. Recommended for anyone who is feeling like they are a bit rubbish at life, or is just in need of a good laugh.