Excerpt from Tall Story by Candy Gourlay, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Tall Story

by Candy Gourlay

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay X
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2011, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 304 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Ellis Smith
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Prologue

Andi playing basketball. Illustrated by Candy Gourlay Rush hour.


So many armpits, so little deodorant.


The whole world is heading out to Heathrow to meet long-lost relatives. I am wedged between the tummies of the two fattest men in the world. Rank.


Mum's practically vibrating. Like she's overdosed on coffee. Which she probably has.


Dad's got his arm around her like a lock. She's fidgeting so hard and the train's so crowded. 'It'll be ages yet, Mary Ann,' he whispers into her ear.


'I just want to make sure we're there when he comes out.'


'He's sixteen. He'll be fine!' Dad kisses her forehead. Which isn't a stretch because the crowd is pushing them so close together his face is practically pasted to her head.


'But William' - Mum glares at his chin - 'he's so TALL!'


Why is Mum so psycho about Bernardo being tall? She's been going on about it since we found out he was coming to London.


'Don't be surprised now, Andi, your brother is tall. Tall, you hear me?' Does she think I needed impressing? I mean, Mum isn't exactly God's gift to the human race in the height department. I'm the smallest in Year Eight and I'm still taller than her. She's so short she needs an ID to prove she's old enough to buy wine at the supermarket.


'I don't understand,' she always argues at the Tesco Express. 'Where I come from, there's never any problem.' Well, London isn't the Philippines, Mum.


The two tummies are practically holding me up in the carriage. I could fall asleep and remain vertical. Hopefully it won't be this bad on the return trip with Bernardo and his luggage.


Bernardo! I can't believe I'm minutes away from becoming someone's little sister.


If he's tall like Mum says, he's guaranteed to love Michael Jordan.


She says everyone in the Philippines is mad about basketball and I'm Michael Jordan's biggest fan. And maybe with another teenager in the house, we can listen to normal music instead of selections from Mum and Dad's pre-Jurassic collection. And now there will be someone else to ignore the bad Dad-jokes that for some reason make Mum go hysterical.


I'm tired of being the Only Child.


And then suddenly the train is screeching to a stop at Heathrow and Mum's dragging me out from between the two tummies. It's miles to walk through all those long, long tunnels to Terminal 3. Then we have to wait an hour before Bernardo's plane number shows on the arrival boards. Then it's another halfhour before they say 'Baggage in Hall'. Now Mum's staring at luggage tags to see which people emerging from the gate were on the plane from the Philippines. 'Look, look!' she screams (and it's no use telling Mum she's loud: she was born with no volume control).


And then she stands there for ages holding the welcome banner up high, hopping a little on one leg like she really, really needs to go to the toilet.


Dad puts his arm around Mum's shoulders and whispers in her ear some more. But her eyes are glazed. She's beyond help. And then she screams so sharply that people nearby stop kissing and hugging to stare.

Giant Hand 'THERE HE IS! OH, NARDO! OH, NARDO! OH! OH! OH!' And I squint past all the huggers and kissers in the arrivals hall, through the tiny panes of glass on the double doors, and all I can see is some geek's necktie.


But Mum's already dropped her banner and she's CRAWLING under the barrier and rushing towards the necktie, all the while squealing something in Tagalog. Dad's got the banner now; he's holding it up and grinning so broadly you can see that he's missing a canine.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from Tall Story by Candy Gourlay. Copyright © 2011 by Candy Gourlay. Excerpted by permission of David Fickling Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Who is Candy Gourlay?

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: African Europeans
    African Europeans
    by Olivette Otele
    The nexus of Africans and Europeans is not a recent historical development. Rather, the peoples of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Killing Hills
    The Killing Hills
    by Chris Offutt
    The personified hills of the novel's title foreshadow the mood of this brooding and ominous tale. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Vixen
    The Vixen
    by Francine Prose
    Recent Harvard graduate Simon Putnam has been rejected from grad school and has thus returned to his...
  • Book Jacket: How the Word Is Passed
    How the Word Is Passed
    by Clint Smith
    With legislatures around the U.S. rushing to ban the teaching of critical race theory, it's clear ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The War Nurse
by Tracey Enerson Wood
A sweeping novel by an international bestselling author based on a true World War I story.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

  • Book Jacket

    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel

    An evocative coming-of-age World War II story from the author of The Book of Lost Names.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.