Overland Article: Why Helen Garner was wrong


I was twenty when I first read Helen Garner’s The First Stone, published twenty years ago, in 1995. I had fallen in love with Garner as a teenager via her novels Monkey Grip and The Children’s Bach, thrilled by her depictions of ‘ordinary’ Australian women living in urban and suburban areas, thrilled that women/girls like me might be worthy of literature.

So I remember approaching The First Stone with trepidation, knowing of its subject matter but, hoping, Garner’s skills would provide an interesting insight into the case the book was investigating: two girls who were taking a master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne to court for sexual harassment.

Reading The First Stone was like being betrayed by a good friend.

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