Book Notes: "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" by Tom Collins

Walk a Mile in My ShoesWalk a Mile in My Shoes by Tom Collins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My grandmother insisted I read this book when I was in my mid-teens, more than thirty years ago. I recalled the book recently and managed to purchase a copy; so this is my second reading. The book was originally published in 1981. This version was published in 2000. As I read, I could not help feel awkward about the conservative Queensland idea of doing "the right thing", something I struggled to escape from initially then later see for myself how I might make my own way with my own ideas about existence. My grandmother insisted that we did not know how hard it was back in the old days. Tom Collins insisted that we should know through his story. Having worked in the scrub in Far North Queensland and experienced physical hardship through work as a chain-man (surveyor's assistant) and later with the military, I feel I have some idea about hardship and physical toil, although obviously not the experience of the Great Depression. So as I read I often pulled a face at the moralising tone. Until the very end of the book. An epilogue, written by Collins' daughter, Cynthia, has been added to this later edition. In 1999, Collins was in a nursing home suffering from dementia. His tale had been told. Despite my reluctance, I have often recollected his stories throughout my life and I was sad to learn of his demise. But his story has been told. And well-received.

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