Book Review- Someone Else's Country by Peter Docker
Peter Docker writes and sings incredibly badly too!
Sycophant to the Indigenous Australian
Most famous actors write biographies in their late 60’s usually in the twilight of their extremely successful careers. Peter Docker is neither famous nor has he had a successful career as an actor, although I would say he is in the twilight of his career both as an actor and writer.
Sadly, he also cannot write. This has not stopped him though, and “Someone Else’s Country” is the poor result, unfortunately. The book is more a reflection of Dockers own huge insatiable ego more than anything else, and he certainly does not let the truth get in the way of a bad story.
The book lacks body, structure and any serious storyline. It jumps all over the place in regards to its timeline. It also shows why, when you are poorly educated, you should not attempt something as difficult as what Docker is trying to achieve. The whole thing just doesn’t work and is a total shambles.
There is a slight hint in his work of Peter Carey’s Illywhacker, and a bit of Pip Newling in there (another poor writer who should never have been published). I would suggest that Docker has read these authors and tried to emulate them. He will never possess the brilliance of Carey and Newling is a shocking writer.
This book has (supposedly) been feted by both Peter Postlethwaite, the famed but under-rated British actor recently deceased, and Rolph de Heer, Director of Ten Canoes. There is a dedication on the front of the book by de Heer and one on the back by Postlethwaite.
I would suggest that neither of these men has read this book. Rather I would guess that both have come across Docker in his brief acting career and are simply patting him on the back in the usual incestuous way that people “in the industry” do.
It is well known that when you are working "in the industry” you never say anything bad about a co-worker. Ten Canoes was boring and never a mainstream success, and this is the same failure Docker will suffer with this lack lustre work. As far as Postlethwaite goes, we will never know if he did read the work as he is dead!
I only read 3 chapters and read a few pages of several more hoping the work would get better and some type of meaning would become apparent.
As I got deeper into it, the more confused I became. The book suffers from a stilted, stacatto style of writing that fails to impress, and only serves to illustrate Dockers lack of a formal education at a level which might enable him to better express himself in writing. Nor does it get his point across. This is obviously a hangover from the teen habit these days of badly abbreviating sms text messages on their mobile phones.
Docker refers to all of his indigenous friends by their tribal names, and when mentioning a suburb whether it be in Melbourne or Sydney. This is patronising behaviour at its worst and after a while it becomes quite annoying. I too have worked closely with the indigenous community in West Australia and I live in Geraldton, a place where the indigenous population probably outweighs the white.
Most of the indigenous population living in the cities today would not know what their tribal names were, nor the tribal area they came from, let alone knowing anything about their local dialect. It is indeed rare and really ridiculous to suggest that Dockers aboriginal friends run around talking in this tribal manner. One gets the impression that Docker has become an indigenous sycophant just to further his ailing career in a burgeoning sector of the Acting industry.
How did Docker get this book published in the first place? He has stated that he sent the publication to over 20 publishers and was rejected by all. These people made the correct decision. Fremantle Arts Centre Press shoud be investigated for wasting public money on this rubbish. There is a good chance there was a set government funding allocation for Indigenous work at Fremantle Arts Centre Press. There is also a chance that Docker knows somebody there too and has had a bit of a helping hand. (i.e. nepotism and collusion). The work has definitely not been published on its merit because it simply has no merit whatsoever.
It would almost seem that Docker is trying to jump on the band wagon and get work in the newest industry around, the Aboriginal rights movement. Just to be sure that he has covered all bases Docker also claims to have been molested by a Catholic priest- how surprising!
Docker tells how indigenous friends adopt him as a son and brother (one of the matriarchs asking him to call her “Mum”). Docker has a real mother and father and 3 brothers, who no longer talk to him because of these ridiculous references in the book.
Docker also claims to have grown up virtually championing the aboriginal cause single handedly, while a member of a caucasian family growing up on a farm in the south of Western Australia. It is amusing that none of Docker's immediate family remember any of this happening. Peters parents were always certainly middle class, (one of his grandparents was a politician) and in fact are part owners of Adventure World in Bibra Lake.
He also tells of snorting lines of coke, I think one is fuelling the other. In other words, get off the coke Pete it’s affecting your judgement.
Docker is also claiming that the Mickleberg brothers approached him to write a play. Yes, sure they did, you me and every other person in Australia who has ever written a play or worked in the industry. The Mickelberg’s have a bad habit of shopping things around as nobody generally wants to touch them, just ask Avon Lovell what contact with them can do to your career!
It is worth noting that Dockers' next book was published as an E-Book probably because nobody would be willing spend any money to publish anything more from him after this poor example.
Docker was a speaker at the recent Geraldton writer’s festival, his appearance once again was more a reflection of his narcissistic, egotistical personality. Docker loves to talk, as long as it is about himself.