Sunday, 30 August 2015

Out of the mouth of babes: Sofie Laguna’s The Eye of the Sheep

By Imbi Neeme

Author and winner of the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award, Sofie Laguna, was joined by an intrigued audience on Saturday 29 August, to talk about her most recent novel: The Eye of the Sheep. Here is a review with a delightful twist that you won’t want to miss!

My Mum said she was going to write a review of a Melbourne Writers Festival event from my point of view, even though I'm still quite short and can't see much, especially when there's lots of tall people around.

She said she was writing the review that way because the event was about a book that was written from a little boy's point of view. I was surprised because the title of the book makes it sound like it was written from a sheep's point of view. I asked Mum if I could read the book when she finished it but she said it wasn't a ‘kids’ book. When I opened the book and saw lots of swears on the page, I had to agree.

Mum obviously didn’t mind the swears. She read the book for hours and hours, until all the light had been drained out of the day and she didn't even notice that the lights weren't on. It was like that time I was in the pool for so long that I didn't notice how wrinkly the skin on my fingers got. Afterwards, it felt like I was touching the world through washing-up gloves.

Mum said the writer of the book seemed really nice. Her name was Sofie and she had a bright smile that she shone on the audience like a sun. Sofie talked on a stage with another nice lady called Jo Case, while Sofie’s son Sonny sat in the audience and read Dr Seuss books and rocked on his chair like he was on a boat. I wish I had been there to rock along with Sonny. We could have played pirates.

Sofie sounds like she would have liked to play pirates, too. When she was a little girl, Sofie wanted to be an actor and she said that she writes her characters in the same way she acts: by stepping inside the character’s skin—like when I put on my Batman costume or when I fall inside a film and forget for a while that I’m me. She said she tunes into a character the way people tune into a radio station. I hope it’s a radio station that plays songs I know and not one of the boring ones where the grown-ups just talk and talk and talk.

Sofie said that kids are great characters to write because they are closer to dreams. She said that whatever place we all come from, kids are closer to that place. I came from my Mum’s tummy and I like to lie my head on Mum’s tummy when I watch TV, so I guess Sofie is right.

Mum told me that Sofie was an inspiration to any parent who wanted to write.  Every waking minute that Sofie wasn’t being a mum, she was writing her sheep’s eye book. I thought this was pretty funny because I didn’t know that there was a time that mums weren’t being mums.

I asked Mum how Sofie would feel about Mum trying to copy her and Mum said that copying someone can be a way of paying them a compliment. When my brother copies me, I don't think he’s trying to pay me a compliment. I think he’s just trying to annoy me. I hope Sofie doesn’t think Mum’s trying to annoy her and I hope she writes a book about a sheep's point of view really, really soon.

Edited by Jessica Donnison


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