If you love rugby or the Rabbitohs as much as Matty in “Matty’s Comeback” by Anita Heiss you should totally read this book. A junior fiction book aimed at Aboriginal boys aged 8+ this book follows 10 year old Matty and his Koori family as they talk about their love or not of rugby. Short blow by blow accounts of a Rabbitohs game, Matty’s journey to the grand final of his local junior rugby league, Matty’s amazing work ethic to work hard for things he wants in life.
A should read for all you sports heads out there!
Side note for those who want more:
I love when Nita (Matty’s younger sister) questions the sexualisation of the cheer squad- “If you can dance and sing then why do you have to dress like that?” and how Nita wants to see more Aboriginal choreography in the cheer squad for the Aboriginal fans. The way Anita has give Nita a developing social conscience, brains and spunk is really deadly.
The vegetarian in me loves that Nita is vego… except for kangaroo. And even then she is characterised as a thoughtful and intelligent kid who can rationalise that kangaroos are happy out bush then humanely hunted not cruel alternative.
I also love the little history lessons- Bi-centenary park and some of the Rabbitohs history.
The one thing I didn’t like were the stereotypes. “[Mum’s] known for barracking-like-a-bloke from the sideline at most games”, “’Mum! Can’t you scream like a lady?’”, “Boys are better at everything than girls are,”, “’Boys are the best; girls are pests’”. I think I know why Anita raised them- to appeal to the 8+ boy audience, to expose some of the ingrained sexism in families and our community, and make the reader aware and flinch a little, but I don’t think she did enough to shoot them back down and break them apart. Then again, maybe it is up to the reader to read between the lines and understand.
What did you love about the book? What other footy books would you recommend?