No Worries, by Bill Condon

I covered her shoulders and leaned against her.
People passing by stared at us, then turned away when I stared back. There must be an embarrassment cut-off point somewhere in the brain. When so many things have happened, you stop caring what people think any more. I even put my arm around her shoulder, although I’m sure she didn’t know it was there.

Brian (Bri) Talbot is seventeen and has just dropped out of school. Fed up with being picked on my other students and by the teachers, he’s decided he’s had enough. Now he’s working nightshift in a milk factory. But Bri’s employment woes are probably the least of his worries. His dad lives in a shed in the backyard and his mum is losing it, spiralling out of control. More and more Bri is taking the role of responsible adult in the family and he’s not sure he can cope.

No Worries deals with some uncomfortable situations with humour and directness, taking the reader on a roller-coaster journey of the emotions. The language, characters and emotions are easy to access but it is not an easy read, because of the gut-wrenching impact of the story.

When a book can make a reader laugh out loud in places and sob bitterly in others, it has had an impact. This is one such tale and is likely to have this impact both on teen readers and on adults.

Whilst the first person voice of the book takes us inside Bri’s head and shows us his version of events, we are still able to develop sympathy for and understanding of the other characters, a testament to the skill of author Bill Condon. It is also a testament to his skill that readers will not want to let the character of Bri go when they reach the end of this book.

No Worries, by Bill Condon
UQP, 2005