Me, Antman & Fleabag

Me, Antman and Fleabag

by Gayle Kennedy
Setting: Australia
Genres: Fiction / Humorous / General
Published on December 14, 2022
Pages: 126
Format: Paperback Source: Library

Me, Antman and Fleabag has a lightness of touch, characters you wanted to know more about and ease of integration and exploration of issues related to Indigeneity and Indigenous experience, are all present - and successfully. Me, Antman and Fleabag offers great humour, often wry, often partnered with interpersonal friction, with an understanding of the ever-presence of violence - real, or implied - in many Indigenous lives, or with a cheerfulness of expletive that many a Koori or Murri would be familiar with. This entry, we feel, would work for all readerships. There's potentially great appeal for all in the sly subversion, or inversion, evidenced in many of the characters and situations.

I’m not even sure how to start describing this stunning short book. It is a series of very short stories about an Aboriginal Australian woman, her partner Antman, and their dog, Fleabag. They travel around Australia, working in the cities for a while before heading back into the rural areas. The author deftly captures the way her friends and family interact among themselves and with the white Australians they encounter.

There are funny stories but pointed stories such as the time they head to an “aboriginal” festival but find themselves the only Black people there. There are sweet stories such as the time when a relative buys a sheep to eat but then realizes that he has been sold a little girl’s pet. (Now he has a pet sheep.) I love the way she talks about Fleabag and his dog friends. Flea has friends all over the country to get into adventures with.

There are stories with darker depths too that explore racism in Australia. The story of a family who finally hears the story of how their parents met is heartbreaking. The author also tells her story of internalized racism after being repeatedly removed from her home for months at a time as a child for specialized medical care.

This is a fast read but the stories will stay with you long after the book is over.