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The Competition

The Competition

By Katherine Collettepaperback1 February 2022
$32.99
or 4 payments of $8.25 with Learn more
Booklovers earn $1.60 in rewards
Katherine Collette's much-anticipated and hilarious follow-up to The Helpline, the debut Aussie novel that charmed the world

Frances quite honestly isn't that excited about the SpeechMakers annual national conference and public-speaking competition. What she's excited about (relatively speaking) is that this year there's a major prize. Frances has a few small problems and forty thousand dollars would go a long way to sorting them out.

Keith is Frances's probably-ex-mentor, it's hard to tell since she's not talking to him, and he disapproves of the prize money. He thinks SpeechMakers should be about self-improvement, not self-enrichment. He wants to win the competition, though. He thinks it might help the situation with his wife Linda.

Neil doesn't care about the competition at all but Judy, his mother and coach, does, so.

And Rebecca...

Actually, what the hell is Rebecca doing here? Rebecca belongs to Frances's past, not her present. And certainly not her (hopefully) less-disastrous future.

Katherine Collette, author of the hilarious The Helpline, returns with another sharply observed comedy of manners and a cast of loveable underachievers, headed for self-improvement despite themselves.

PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Title: The Competition
  • Author: Katherine Collette
  • Publisher: The Text Publishing Company
  • ISBN: 9781922268068

RATINGS & REVIEW

9/02/2022 4:40:08 PM - Marianne
A laugh-out-loud funny, moving and thought-provoking read.
The Competition is the second novel by Australian author, Katherine Collette. At the Brisbane SpeechMakers Australia Conference, which incorporates the National SpeechMakers Public Speaking Championship, Keith McDonald is an enthusiastic attendee (without wife Linda, who can’t think of anything more boring). Former president (six times) of Glen Iris club, and 36-year veteran, Keith is disturbed by the direction club taking, the excessive focus on finance, to the detriment of self-improvement. Keith offers his mentoring to newer members free of charge (as one should!), unlike the many coaching services touting their wares at the conference; his disapproval, were he aware of his mentee, Frances Moore’s actual reasons for participating in the Championship, would be strong and vocal. While she quite likes making speeches after the event (she’s too anxious before), Frances Moore is not particularly keen to attend but, for a number of reasons, not the least being an ultimatum from her parents that she do something more with her life than working in a supermarket deli, she needs to win the Championship. And the forty-thousand-dollar prize money would pay debt that might make her feel like a less terrible person. Judith Stevenson’s son Neil doesn’t want to be at the conference at all, but his mother (and coach) insists that he must make a concerted effort to win, if only to endorse her coaching business, Inspire: Public Speaking and Life Coaching Services (another reason of which Keith would strongly disapprove). And guilt over a past failing is a big motivator for doing what mum wants him to. Collette’s description of the conference (the merchandise, the volunteers, the seminars, the bonding exercises, the gala dinner) will resonate with anyone who has attended one; her depiction of the club, the hierarchy, and its members, some of whose officiousness and pedantics with respect to rules will strike a loud chord with many. Collette’s characters, most of whom will endear themselves to the reader despite their very human quirks and flaws, will be easily recognised from among those we encounter every day, people passionate, almost evangelical, about their particular pastime. The eventual revelation of the origins of Neil’s submissive behaviour and Frances’s catastrophising involve peer-group pressure, bullying, and phone scams. Neil dares to stand up; Frances comes to understand that genuine remorse is more valued than money. And as for Keith, whose favourite books are “SpeechMakers Treasure Chest Volume 1 or The Oxford Book of Aphorisms”, it is gratifying to see him progress from “if you could see there was a lot wrong, how could you not point it out?” to “he’d never realised until now that changing one thing for the better would be more valuable, more satisfying, than proving a thousand things wrong.” The story also demonstrates how not for profit educational organisations may have both positive and negative aspects and that, as they expand, the potential exists for those in charge to forget their initial, altruistic goals and be tempted to pursue profit: they do say that power corrupts. A laugh-out-loud funny, moving and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Text Publishing.
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