Reviewed By Liz Konkel for Readers’ Favorite
G’DAY: Aints by Mark Wayne Adams is a stunning coming of age journey following the life of Driew Qweepie. Driew’s life was fairly ordinary, dealing with bullies, siblings that don’t seem to want him around, and growing up. When his mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor, his life is flipped around and it seems like his siblings are keeping secrets from him. His best friends and his Tasmanian Tiger named Dingo are always there when he needs them. He finds solace in the woods and his tree house, using them to bask in the safety net of his childhood. His family doesn’t mention those they’ve lost. He’s never known the names of his grandparents or deceased relatives, but when he finds a family memoir he uncovers surprising family secrets. Gulia is his charming and brazen neighbor who convinces him to follow where the Magic Man leads, on a journey to find the Outback, an Australian song line. The more he learns about his family, the more he finds out about himself and discovers a connection to Gulia that he doesn’t expect.
The structure of G’DAY is an intriguing one that is broken into moments with every moment serving a purpose. Mark Wayne Adams delivers spectacular details with descriptions like “wrecking ball personality” and larger than life characters. Adams has a quirky style that gives a playful quality and a certain lightness to the story. G’DAY has many layers, a story of family, bullying, loss, growing up, friendship, and first love. Driew feels like an outsider with his siblings, but he finds comfort in the relationships he has with his friends and the bond he has with his Tasmanian Tiger. He also finds solace in the country, in books, and in words. He seems to find magic in every aspect of his life, which gives a beauty to Driew’s world.
Driew has a complicated relationship with his family as his siblings often seem to shield him from anything bad while also taking some of their pain out on him. His mother’s health slowly degrades throughout due to a brain tumor and this greatly affects the entire family. G’DAY puts a great deal of focus on childhood and the carefree magic that comes with it, referencing acclaimed novels The Outsiders, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Peter Pan. Driew finds himself captivated by the wonders of the woods, which is where the Magic Man and Australian lore ties into the story. The wonder of it all will pull you into his world. G’DAY is a truly breathtaking story with a unique style, quirky language that finds the magic in words, the memory of the past, and the struggle of life and death.