Plum by Brendan Cowell

Published: 2021 1. First lines: 2. Cover: Harper Collins 3. Rugby League players [Public Domain] via Pxhere

Peter Lum (“Plum”) is a well-known retired footballer. He starts suffering debilitating headaches and epilepsy, due to all the head trauma of his football career. To save his life he needs to make changes to his lifestyle, and in doing so he meets new people, including being haunted by dead poets.

BOOK SNAPS: Brendan Cowell in the Herald Sun states that “blaming ‘toxic masculinity’ for problems in modern Australia doesn’t help.”, and the Guardian believes this book to be “an examination of Australian masculinity and what it takes to be a decent human being”. In this somewhat sad story, but in a way quite uplifting, the author shows us “what lives inside the toxicity” Guardian through a variety of flawed characters.

“What hurt was getting hit when you weren’t ready for it.”


“All those footy players stayed kids, she knew that better than anyone – that’s why they did all those silly things. They were just little children hiding out in Goliath’s scaffolding.”

“… all he could see was young boys’ heads going into other young boys’ heads. Heads that held brains and ideas and futures, heads like ice-cream buckets not built to protect the tiniest bird, were mindlessly crashing into others.”

“Australia liked to pretend it loved everyone, but it was never permanent, it was conditional on winning.”

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