BOOK REVIEW: The First Third
by Will Kostkais
Publication date: 24 July 2013
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Goodreads: Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.
That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together.
No pressure or anything.
Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?
It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.
Will Kostakis has written a wonderful novel focusing on the importance of family that was truly relatable. I might not be Greek but at the end of the day, it’s a novel about a family who just happens to be Greek. Every family will have similar dynamics, no matter what the culture or background is. The relationships between Billy and each of his family members felt very realistic.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Will Kostakis, it’s that he is a funny person and this doesn’t end when he sits down to write. There were parts of the book that had me laughing out loud to myself and that’s a very rare occurrence for me as a reader.
I loved how diverse the book was and how natural that diversity felt. It didn’t feel like Kostakis had thought “Oh I need to include diverse characters”, rather it felt like they belonged in the story because diversity is very real in the real world. We have people of colour, we have people who are LGBT+, we have people with disabilities. That’s how it works in the real world and I think Kostakis captured that beautifully.
I also really enjoyed the Sydney backdrop. Even though it’s not my end of Sydney it still felt familiar and right and it just feels so great to read a book set in my own city. The whole novel just had an Aussie vibe to it and it was great. It captured Australian culture without being the stereotypical “G’day mate” Australia.
The First Third was a book that managed to be both heart-warming and heartbreaking. I have loved everything I’ve read by Kosatkis so far and can’t wait for more.