We had a wonderful start, albeit belated, to our FOBL events this year. In May Debra Oswald joined us in Balmain Town Hall to talk about her book, The Family Doctor, to a large and enthusiastic audience. As some of the audience had not read her book, she was careful not to give away too much of the plot. She emphasised that whilst there are some explicit scenes of domestic violence and coercive control, this was not a man hating book, nor did she believe that female vigilantes were the answer to dealing with this ongoing problem in our society. She was more interested to explore the question of “What would a good person do in the situation in which the family doctor finds herself?” She talked about how anguished observers can be pushed to do something about what had happened and the question of morality – can you justify taking a life to save a life? Whilst it sounds like it should be a bleak book, the exploration of female friendship and the unexpected love story ensure that it is a gripping page turner but more than that, it is a novel where we come to care for the characters and their struggles with the questions that Debra explores.
Debra answered many questions about her writing process and her research (her sister is a GP who helped in Debra’s research on the proviso that Debra mentions that her sister has never killed a patient!).
She also gave us very amusing glimpses into the lives of two writers living together. Debra then signed many books and had long chats with audience members.
The usual generous and delicious FOBL supper was enjoyed by everyone. The evening was a great success as evidenced by the reluctance of the audience to leave long after the talk had finished.