Olive, Julie and the Ice Cream Man traces the overlapping life journeys of characters as they encounter adventure, love, loss and the misery resulting from flawed relationships. Through twelve separate but synchronous fictional stories, Faye Rosewarn documents the havoc which drugs and alcohol inflict on individuals, families and society, sometimes over generations.
Rosewarn presents multiple perspectives in her stories, both professional and non professional, as well as a non judgmental examination of dysfunctional families. Through strong characterization she highlights the insidious role played by substance abuse in creating and perpetuating dysfunction. Rosewarn hopes that in writing these stories she will promote greater understanding of the destructive power of drugs and alcohol.
Olive, Julie and the Ice Cream Man from the title of the book are characters who feature in the first and longest story. Olive has received very little kindness in her life, her wistful tale of adventure and abuse compounded by enabling her abuser. She is fear-filled yet yearning for change. Julie and the Ice Cream Man provide Olive with opportunities and challenges, which are not resolved easily. Damaged by the spiraling abusive and destructive relationships throughout her life, Olive’s potential is not nurtured but instead is exploited and crushed. She is puzzled that hard work does not always result in rewards, sometimes it results in tears. While Olive is forever hopeful that life can and will improve, she also recognizes her own capacity for self-delusion.
Rosewarn seems compelled to write the stories of Olive and others for whom life has taken torturous twists and turns. Her purpose in writing is clearly stated: “My request to the reader is that, on completion of the reading, you may think about your own situation in life, or another’s, and seek the truth and educate. It is my great desire that if only one person reads this story and makes some changes, then my job is done.”
Reviewed by Chris McGuigan March 2016
Available from Sid Harta Publishers http://sidharta.com/au/