I’m always on the look out for books with characters with no children by choice, not just for their childfree status, but more how their characters contribute to the story.

One of this blog’s childfree-related article sleuths was kind enough to write a review on a provocative book she recently read that fits this childfree character bill. The book is called The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and here’s what she thought:

Review of the The Slap:

Within the first few passages of this novel, I could tell it was written by a man. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but if you like some raunch in your reading, then this book is for you.

The Slap is the story of an unruly child who is slapped by an unrelated adult at a suburban Australian backyard barbeque, and the attitudes of those that witnessed it. Was the slap deserved? Was it the right thing to do? The Slap explores the reality of our society today and questions values on marriage, children and child rearing, family, sexuality and fidelity.

The story unfolds as, each person who attended the barbeque, reflects on the slap and their own lives. Some accept themselves and their chosen domestic path, others question how they fit in to modern society – and then others are miserable and feel the world owes them.

One character, Anouk is childfree and her role in the story provides an objective perspective on the incident. She has great job, a younger lover and judges people on personality rather than status or wealth. She is worldly and more of a realist than most of the other characters. This is reflected in her thoughts on the events that unfold after the incident as well as the slap itself. We end up finding out there are reasons for her childfree lifestyle, and at one point she even tries to will herself to have the desire for a child, but she realizes that the kind of life a child would bring is not enough.

There is also a cultural aspect to this story that typifies Melbourne, Australia’s multiculturalism; Greek, Indian, Asian and Italian ideals are explored along with middle class white Australia. The characters age in range from two eighteen year old students to an elderly seventy one year old man. I think most people will identify with someone in this story.

It’s a larger novel than I would normally read, I found the ending a little cheesy, but overall it is an interesting glimpse into the every day lives of Australian society. The Slap is a multi award winning novel and is currently being made into an eight part TV series which will screen in Australia later in 2011 on ABC1. There also may be the chance to view this series online later in the year.


Thank you, Ms. Sleuth!

Read other novels with childfree characters? Send in the titles and your experience of the read~

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