Book Review: The Slap

I’m always on the look out for books with characters with no children by choice, not just for their childfree status, but more how their characters contribute to the story.

One of this blog’s childfree-related article sleuths was kind enough to write a review on a provocative book she recently read that fits this childfree character bill. The book is called The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and here’s what she thought:

Review of the The Slap:

Within the first few passages of this novel, I could tell it was written by a man. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but if you like some raunch in your reading, then this book is for you.

The Slap is the story of an unruly child who is slapped by an unrelated adult at a suburban Australian backyard barbeque, and the attitudes of those that witnessed it. Was the slap deserved? Was it the right thing to do? The Slap explores the reality of our society today and questions values on marriage, children and child rearing, family, sexuality and fidelity.

The story unfolds as, each person who attended the barbeque, reflects on the slap and their own lives. Some accept themselves and their chosen domestic path, others question how they fit in to modern society – and then others are miserable and feel the world owes them.

One character, Anouk is childfree and her role in the story provides an objective perspective on the incident. She has great job, a younger lover and judges people on personality rather than status or wealth. She is worldly and more of a realist than most of the other characters. This is reflected in her thoughts on the events that unfold after the incident as well as the slap itself. We end up finding out there are reasons for her childfree lifestyle, and at one point she even tries to will herself to have the desire for a child, but she realizes that the kind of life a child would bring is not enough.

There is also a cultural aspect to this story that typifies Melbourne, Australia’s multiculturalism; Greek, Indian, Asian and Italian ideals are explored along with middle class white Australia. The characters age in range from two eighteen year old students to an elderly seventy one year old man. I think most people will identify with someone in this story.

It’s a larger novel than I would normally read, I found the ending a little cheesy, but overall it is an interesting glimpse into the every day lives of Australian society. The Slap is a multi award winning novel and is currently being made into an eight part TV series which will screen in Australia later in 2011 on ABC1. There also may be the chance to view this series online later in the year.


Thank you, Ms. Sleuth!

Read other novels with childfree characters? Send in the titles and your experience of the read~

8 thoughts on “Book Review: The Slap

  1. I have heard a lot about this story and look foward to watching it, however your reference to a good childfree character sounds interesting maybe I will actually go out and read it!

  2. Hi,
    Just found your site and was interested to read your review.

    I actually work for the production company who is making The Slap into an 8 part TV show. We are over half way through the shoot and it’ll hopefully be on the ABC later this year.

    My (personal)most interesting quote about Anouk is on page 397. Aisha says/thinks this about her: “Maybe women without children are different. …It is possible that the world is divided into three genders – there are men, there are women and then there are women who choose to have nothing to do with children.”

    !!! ? Thoughts?

    (I am childless by the way…) This book sure knows how to get stuck into hot topics.

    If anyone is interested we have a Facebook page and Twitter account where we are updating info on the shoot/the show and the issues as we go.
    The links are:

    Facebook – The Slap (TV Show) –
    Twitter – @theslaptv –
    YouTube – NewOnABCTV –

    Look forward to hearing more of your comments!

    1. Thanks for writing! I will pass this on to folks on fb and other places. Please write and tell me when the show will be aired on ABC–will definitely put it out there!~L

  3. Julie – thanks for the links. I have just started following you on Twitter and liked you on FB. I LOVE that book and recommend it to everyone. Darn shame I am no longer in Australia to view it.

  4. I’ll be really interested to see what they do with the TV series. I’m guessing an episode per character, but is it really going to be 12 episodes long? Or will they cut the cast list to focus on the more central few?

    I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the novel hugely (, but I’ll still be watching the TV series when it hits UK screens.

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