SIX MONTHS OFF: An American Family's Australian Adventure by Lamar Alexander

SIX MONTHS OFF: An American Family's Australian Adventure

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KIRKUS REVIEW

When his second term as governor of Tennessee ended in 1987, Alexander decided that what was needed after eight years of ""swiveling in the governor's chair"" was a six-month-long visit to Australia to relax and reevaluate his life. Along on the trip were Alexander's wife, Honey, and their four children, from four-year-old Will to Drew, ""almost sixteen."" Here, Alexander tells the story of the adventure--along with brief vignettes of his childhood and years in public office--in an unaffectedly homespun style that most readers will find nearly irresistible. Part of the success of this book is due to the author's obvious love for his family, and part to his highly individual reactions to the events of the half-year down under. Skillfully captured are the personalities of the four children, whose reactions to the trip swing from an initial rebellion to a gradual acceptance and then enthusiasm for the Australian adventure. Alexander is equally adept in his portrayals of those he meets during his peregrinations. A nature-lover, he sought out some relatively unexplored corners of the Australian continent, and here describes them with sharp-eyed precision. The family's side-trips ranged from a visit to the Outback to a fishing expedition that nearly ended in tragedy when the young Will unwittingly overdosed on seasick pills. The ""six months off"" come to an end when the Alexanders return home via Thailand, China, and Russia. Unfortunately, these pages are among the least successful in the book. But while the ""Australian Adventure"" lasts, it is a charming, sometimes deeply moving, and occasionally reflective experience that many readers will want to share.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1988
Publisher: Morrow