The Peppercorn Tree traces Jill Lovett’s autobiographical memoir of growing up in a Sydney Australia suburb in the 1940’s and 1950’s. She has used the analogy of a hardy Peppercorn tree which survived in her childhood backyard, symbolising for her the endurance of suburban ‘battlers’ struggling to achieve purpose and hope within a somewhat barren environment..
It reveals a very different world of post Second World War frugality, British style education, no television or computers; a time when children largely created their own entertainment, were expected to conform and obey all authority figures and accept limitation in terms of their personal development and dreams.
The final chapters reveal how Jill’s childhood impacted on her later life as a mother of six children, a victim of a difficult marriage and her eventual achievement of four University degrees as a mature-age student.
Jill also touches on aspects of Australian literature and how some of the greatest Australian authors such as historian Manning Clark, novelist Patrick White and social scientists Donald Horne and John Thornhill have viewed suburbia and the Australian psyche developed over two centuries of pioneering a beautiful but harsh land.
Jill’s story includes humour and pathos and is a keenly observant record of the Australian suburban culture of that era. This is a book for all who live, dream and struggle in suburbia.