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Good Reads Review: 28 by Brandon Jack

*mild spoilers below*

*This book was provided to me by Allen & Unwin for a review for the Booktopian Blog.*

A compelling debut memoir, 28 is a book that lives up to it's subtitle with a great examination of mental health, sport, masculinity, identity and where that all fits into the wider world.

Brandon Jack is a musician, journalist and former player with the Sydney Swans, and this volume examines his relationship with sport in all it's forms. This may be categorised as a sporting memoir, but I feel that characterisation does this book a disservice.

Brandon Jack has had a fascinating journey compared to many sports stars we usually see, and this comes through in this fascinating examination of his life and his relationship with sport. While sport does feature heavily, it is primarily a story of growth, of understanding, and of confronting hard and uncomfortable truths about your life, and is a fantastic statement of intent about where Brandon wants to go after his athletic career.

One thing that does really separate this book especially is it's ending, as Brandon admits himself he is still very much finding his way in the world. The ending feels more like Brandon is beginning to discover who he really is (and the fact that sport still has a place in his life), which is very different from most memoirs which arrive at some point of finality or final learning. While some may find themselves put off by that, I personally find it a great examination that people don't just stop developing from the moment the words are written on the page. This I will leave for the reader to discover themselves.

This is a highly recommended, even if you don’t follow footy. Especially in a time where an examination of masculinity and the way men are brought up is more examined than ever, this memoir provides a deep and disturbing examination of the consequences of that, and it makes me look forward to whatever creative projects Brandon is involved with next.


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