Cedar avoids the main swell of action in her street, and drifts instead towards the puddles. In Cedar’s puddle there’s Cedar, who’d really like to be called Lana Munroe since it has a famous kind of ring to it, her friend Caramella Zito, who lives opposite and Ricci, a fifty year old Yugoslavian lady.
But suddenly, things seem to change. Maybe it’s because her dog Stinky disappears, or maybe it started back when her brother Barnaby ran away. Either way, things change. Cedar meets a boy called Kite, who swings from trees and does hand springs.
Now her puddle is bigger and more complicated. As well as Kite, there’s his father Ruben, who used to be in the circus, his friend Oscar, who wobbles, and his mother, who has run off with a man called Howard.
There are also new experiences – learning balances and tumbles with Kite, attending Oscar’s birthday party, trying to run away. And, when Ricci’s dog needs an operation, Cedar finds herself organising a circus to raise the money needed.
Told in the delightful first-person narrative of Cedar herself, The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life) is an outstanding debut novel from Australian author Martine Murray. Young Cedar’s take on life provides both humour and insight.
Martine Murray is the talented author and illustrator of the acclaimed picture books A Moose Called Mouse and A Dog Called Bear. She has studied art, writing, acrobatics and dance and live sin Melbourne. She says that this book is “about belonging exactly as you are, without having to tone down or change.”
The Slightly True Story of Cedar Blue Hartley (who planned to live an unusual life), by Martine Murray.
Allen and Unwin, 2002.