Brown Skin Blue, by Belinda Jeffrey

My mum’s skin is white, my skin is brown and I have a blue birthmark. Two secrets rule my life. One is something I need to know and the other is something I need to forget. They won’t let me go.

Since McNabm Blue did the bad thing to him when he was eight, Barry Mundy hasn’t trusted men, despite the fact that he’s now one himself. But as he travels Australia’s top end trying to make a life for himself, he is also trying to find out the identity of his father, so that he can move on. When he arrives in Humpty Doo, Barry takes a job with a crocodile jumping tour company, and makes friends with the tour operator, Boof, and one of his workers, Sally. Learning to trust them also helps him to face his past and uncover his true identity.

Brown Skin Blue is a wonderful debut novel for Brisbane author Belinda Jeffrey. The subject matter is at times uncomfortable and confronting, but the story is both intriguing and ultimately uplifting. Barry (Barramundi, as Boof calls him) is a resilient character who is determined to overcome his difficult childhood where he as abused by a man who had befriended him, and neglected by an alcoholic mother. As a first person narrator he comes across as reliable, with a slightly self-deprecating air and a realistic approach to life.

Suitable for older teens as well as for adult readers.

Brown Skin Blue

Brown Skin Blue, by Belinda Jeffrey
UQP, 2009