Book Review: Full Tilt, by Rebekah Tyler

Rebekah Tyler is a New Zealand cv_full_tiltauthor, living in Auckland with her two sons. This is her first novel – a memoir. She has written a wonderful laugh-out-loud story.

Rebekah’s mother dies when she is 4 years old. Her grandmother (Nanny), still grieving for her daughter, takes on the responsibility of a small child (Rebekah). Rebekah’s upbringing is anything but conventional, but the love between the two of them gets them through the many challenges that life throws their way. Rebekah’s Uncle Andrew moves to New Zealand and a few months later, persuades Nanny to move from the U.K. to the other side of the world, where Nanny works well into her seventies as an accounts clerk to support her only granddaughter. She would have to leave at 7 a.m each morning travel by ferry and bus to her office and often worked into the night after she returned each night.

Her Nanny teaches Rebekah to be independent and reliant on nobody but herself, but regardless of that she ends up with one failed marriage, the end result being a small son to bring up on her own. Further down the track, with another failed relationship and pregnant, Rebekah finds herself solely responsible not just for one child, but two. When Nanny dies, the world feels as though it has fallen off its axis for Rebekah. Her mentor and her rock were gone. She knew life had to change and the only person who could change it was herself. So change it she did – sold her house, quit her job, packed up their belongings, moving most of it into storage.

The story that follows is a joy to read. It’s not easy travelling with two sons, one two and the other ten years of age. They embark on an eight month long adventure taking them around the world, to Canada, England, France, Italy and Vietnam.

Having travelling with two daughters, but with a husband, I can relate to some of the stories of tantrums at inappropriate places with a two-year-old, sleeping in so many different beds in strange cities, eating strange food (well to a child it is!) and of course the many friendships made along the way. I understood Rebekah’s challenges along the way, and saw her strength in her ability to cope.

It’s then time for the adventure to stop and return home to New Zealand. Boarding a plane, settling the boys into their seats, putting the ear plugs in, turning up the iPod, makes the journey home a lot less stressful. Small incidents, that once upon a time would have been major, were now minor blips.

I hope Rebekah keeps writing – this is a wonderful light hearted account of travelling with her boys. Having a sense of humour in times of adversity is sometimes the only way to move forward. She is a remarkable woman with a great sense of humour.

Highly recommended

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Full Tilt
by Rebekah Tyler
Published by Full Tilt Press
ISBN 9780473247423