A Deeply Personal Experience: Kate Pardey reviews ‘Peace, Love and Khaki Socks’ by Kim Lock

Peace, Love and Khaki Socks by Kim Lock. MidnightSun Publishing. 2013

peace love and Khaki socksIt is possible this is a timely book. It certainly is a well-written one, and the voice of protagonist, Amy Silva, is immediately likeable. Such is Kim Lock’s skill as a writer it is wonderfully easy to move into Amy’s world. But is what she is saying timely? Do young women today need to be encouraged to take control of one of the most important events of their lives? Do young women today even see childbirth as one of the most important events of their lives? And if they don’t, why should they?

I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this is a story of a woman’s efforts to take control of her life after she discovers she is pregnant. I am perhaps spoiling the review to say just by writing this I immediately have visions of John Belushi singing the lyric – ‘… sometimes it’s hard to be a woman….’ There were times when I sided with Amy’s friend and thought Amy spent a little too much time thinking about herself.

Well, now that I have declared myself to be the type of woman whose given birth under the desk at work I can say I enjoyed reading Peace, Love and Khaki Socks – mainly because it was amusing. Amy’s voice is distinctly Australian – there are plenty of words which would not be found in novels written by authors in other countries – which for me added to the humour. There is a vast array of characters, but given the subtext it’s not surprising to discover the best are women, girls especially. Whilst Amy’s husband is occasionally allowed to voice an opinion, and does tear his hair quite a bit, there’s, no doubting this is a woman’s journey and whilst for the most part ably supported, it’s a journey she mostly goes on alone. And this is where Kim Lock’s excels with her clear, telling evocations of what pregnancy is like for some women or how young girls feel when they get their first period or when they discover sex.

Kim Lock also writes evocatively of place. She is able to convey deftly in a few words not just what a place looks like but also, more importantly, how it feels. Darwin truly comes alive under Lock’s colourful description of energy sapping heat and the torturous wait for the dry to break. Her best writing is the writing of the quotidian. This is an important detail given Lock has decided to write a novel where on the surface seemingly little happens. But of course Lock’s cleverness lies in the fact that a huge amount does happen and that she can make the reader care is the mark of a good writer.

Given the propensity of today’s young women to take for granted the fact that their opportunities were hard fought for by the women who came before them, perhaps does make this a timely book. As does the inescapable reality that childbirth and motherhood will always be a deeply personal experience. Kim Lock has written an entertaining story and one that is reassuring for those embarking motherhood – far better I’m sure than my approach which was simply to let someone else do the worrying…..and then I was left – holding the baby.

– Kate Pardey


Kate Pardey is a Sydney based fiction critic.

Peace Love and Khaki Socks is available from http://midnightsunpublishing.com/books/peace-love-and-khaki-socks/

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