by Ia Uaro
This heartwarming story was released in September. It would make a perfect give for someone you love. It is available in paperback and Kindle versions.
Fictionalized true stories set in Sydney and Boston, where heartbreaks are juxtaposed with humor, Sydney’s Song is a young girl’s courageous journey to adulthood and a love story. A work of fiction based on real events, this novel with an Australian accent also shows the world that living with disabilities does not prevent a person from attaining happiness.
Olympic fever runs high in the Australian summer of 1999 and 17-year-old Sydney has caught it. Little does she know taking a holiday job in the beehive that is the Olympics’ public-transport call center will be life altering. Shaken by her parents’ divorce, the sheltered Aussie is further plagued by abusive callers, obnoxious government agencies, constrictive office rules, and liberated friends. She is trying to negotiate these challenges as her own personal Olympics when Pete finds her. Pete, Boston’s former child prodigy whose soothing voice floats across her workstation, sees through Sydney’s tough outer shell. Pete knows what it takes to present a dignified front when all you want to do is howl at the moon. Treating their friendship like an art, he invests time and creative effort to pull Sydney out of her despair.
Tragedy strikes when an accident leaves Pete with a major brain injury in a Boston hospital. When the going gets very, very tough, will you abandon the one who’s promised to love you until he dies? An undefeatable heroine. A hero to live for. A love no reader will ever forget…
By Uvi Poznansky
It took me time to write this review because I was too busy laughing and crying at every twist and turn of this story.
Let me tell you what the title meant to me: Sydney, who is a girl barely 18 years old at the opening of the story, is ashamed of her voice, thinking she is tone-deaf, and only when inhibitions are lifted, only in her sleep, does she dare to sing. But events in this story cause her to mature fast, so it is with great urgency that she finds her voice. This book is a love song; a song of songs to her beloved, to whom with amazing devotion she dedicates her life. What better quote for her transformation than the one at the opening: “You’ll know who I am by the song that I sing.” The soul and the voice are one.
It is hard, if not impossible, to fit this work into a literary genre, because the first half reads like an adorable girl-meets-boy story, only to take a sharp turn when Pete, the man Sydney falls in love with, has a bicycle accident on his visit to Boston. At the same moment, half a world away in Australia, Sydney senses a strong, inexplicable fear in her heart, and collapses. It takes weeks for her to learn his whereabouts. Lying in a Boston hospital, arm and leg broken, he is diagnosed with brain injury, and it is unclear whether he will ever regain consciousness. This is where the real fight, the fight for his survival begins; this is where you will get completely hooked with the Sydney’s character.
The author of Sydney’s Song is an artist as well, and her stylized black-and-white illustrations appear at every chapter heading, looking like a little window through which you can view events. Inspired by real events in her life, this story is a tribute to her spirit, her voice, and her song.
About the Author
Ia Uaro is an Australian author. She was born in the beautiful and remote, world’s widest tea plantation by Mount Kerinci in Sumatra where her dad was the plantation’s accountant, her mum a teacher. Her dad died when Ia was 13, and Ia moved across the ocean.
She proceeded to become the busiest teen ever: playing in a drum band, tutoring maths, learning languages including English as the fifth language, and, at 17, a teen magazine published Ia’s first fiction as a serial. Inundated by her fans’ letters, the publisher printed it as a book, which was subsequently bought by the Indonesian Department of Education for high-school libraries.
Ia used the proceeds to help fund her university studies, during which time she was active in aero-modelling, martial arts, mountaineering, speleology… and studied petroleum seismology among her music-playing friends. After her graduation Ia worked with French, Norwegian and American geophysical companies, besides being a volunteer translator.
In Sydney since 1995, Ia is a mum who does several kinds of volunteer work for the community, assesses manuscripts, and writes real-life socio-fiction. Her husband, who suffers permanent partial brain damage, says Ia now sleep-talks in English. Part of Sydney’s Song‘s proceeds will be donated to the Brain Foundation.
For further insights, read an interviewwith the author.