Published: 28/03/2016
ISBN: 9780992488536
Format: Paperback

“Insightful, charming and genuinely funny”
Nick Earls, writer more

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Born in Cumbria, UK, Mark MacLean has lived in Australia (Alice Springs, Newcastle and Lightning Ridge) for more than half his life. With family on both sides of the world, Mark is endlessly drawn to ... read more

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Five Boxes
Unpacking my teenage self
by Mark MacLean

We all grow up and leave home, but what happens to the stuff we leave behind?

Thirty years after leaving his home in the Lake District of England for life in Australia, Mark MacLean returns to his parents’ home to clear out the attic – including the contents of the teenage bedroom he walked out on decades before. The ‘stuff’ of his adolescent world – the vinyl records and cassettes, the diaries, books and school projects, the sporting trophies and knickknacks – fill five large boxes.

Five Boxes is the hilarious tale of Mark unpacking these boxes when they finally arrive, battered and bruised, in Australia, three months later. Each item he pulls from them triggers a flood of memories: making the world’s most rubbish letter knife in woodwork class; chasing girls around thistle-infested paddocks; journeying miles by moped to long-forgotten rock concerts; going on school wine-tasting trips.

The North of England in the 1970s seems like a distant age, one in which ‘getting the phone on’ or buying a fridge were huge and life-changing events. But Five Boxes is not just about lame trophies, mismatched collections, medieval dentistry, boring diaries, village haircuts, submarines, punk and politics; it’s a story about finding yourself in the things of your past.

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"Five Boxes" is the winner of the Zeferrelli's People's category of the Lakeland Book of the Year awards!

North-West Evening Mail

This book was a great read. Lots of laughs and some touching moments as well. I really enjoyed it, I would highly recommend giving it a go.

by Euphemia Carswell


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