On My Bookshelf: The Edge of Limits
written by SJ Gervay
published by Flying Elephants Media 2022
If not me, who?
If not now, when?
I won’t lie – The Edge of Limits is a confronting book to read.
It’s meant to be.
In writing this book, the author set out to challenge – challenge norms and expectations about sexuality, mateship, leadership, and male humour. It explores misogyny, bullying, the effects of drugs and alcohol, and the positives and negatives of parental expectations. It highlights consent and what that means, and having the courage to stand up for what YOU believe in, beyond the pressure of the pack, and how difficult it can be to make that choice.
It is about identity, and it is about responsibility.
It is about finding the courage to stand up and say something.
But, yes, while The Edge of Limits is a confronting book to read, it is also an adventure, as the boys face physical challenges and redefine their relationships.
It is about Sam discovering himself on a school survival camp, separated from his friends and treading the path between looking out for himself and looking out for others. He has to find the courage to meet challenges head-on, both inside himself as he works out his relationship with his girlfriend and works through the loss of his grandfather, as well as the physical difficulties he faces trekking through the bush, climbing and abseiling, kayaking and caving, and just getting through trying to get some sleep, having enough to eat, and surviving the, er, toilet facilities.
The characters are strong, the story well-paced, and the sense of tension and investment real.
It is well worth the read.
SJ Gervay researched this book in depth, putting herself in the shoes of boys caught up in this culture, experiencing the survival skills that the boys faced, and allowing herself to see the story from the inside out.
This is an important book for young people – boys and girls – to start conversations, where they can recognise themselves and their peers in the characters portrayed, and where they can make decisions about their own identities.
Great for those middle years (plus) at high school, The Edge of Limits is an opening gambit in finding a solution to the hidden underbelly of toxic ‘boys’ club’ culture – questioning what many see as the status quo and encouraging the sense that it doesn’t have to be like that.