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King Bob and His Boy Jumbo
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Author Bio

George began writing quite late in life. His first story, ‘My Dad’, was published in a book of short stories called ‘The Man Who Played Spoons’. His second story, ‘Looking Back’, won first prize in a competition run by the city of Casey. 

In 1989, Ros Bowman interviewed him about his unusual childhood for her programme ‘Word of Mouth’ on the ABC radio. This attracted so much interest from listeners that they did a second interview. Some time later, he wrote a book about his early life, but then lost interest in writing and only now, at 90, with time running out, has decided to publish it.

King Bob and His Boy Jumbo

By George James

RRP: $19.95
ISBN: 9781922594990
As a memoir, it poses unanswerable questions about the nature of a man known as “King Bob”. As a dramatic narrative, it tells of an unquestionable love and bond between two people thrown together, and who in different ways become each other’s keeper for the entirety of their lives.

King Bob, the King of the Bottle-o’s around Fitzroy and Collingwood at the time of the Great Depression, was first handed his smiling son when he was born. Not much of a chance was given the lad with a dad like King Bob.

But Bob placed his infant son in his bottle cart and from there, the lad grew each day. Soon the boy became known around the traps as “The Kid”.

Thus begins a tale that is a memoir of two lives intensely interdependent, and also a rollicking dramatic narrative that moves at a clip through inner suburban Melbourne. The Kid later becomes Jumbo, King Bob’s largely unschooled sidekick, as King Bob plies his trade of buying and selling bottles and metal scrap along with a few nefarious deals on the side, carouses in pubs and scrambles from one rooming house to another, and one woman to another.

It is hilarious and heartbreaking simultaneously, filled with moments of breathtaking suspense and daily dramas interpolated with moments of homey domesticity when Jumbo and King Bob share travels and laughs over the many years they share. Welcome to the world of King Bob and his boy Jumbo…and do not fret, you will survive, just as they did..!

“This is the memoir of all memoirs! Told from the child’s eye of the streets of Melbourne during the depression and the social changes of the 20th century. It is fantastically funny, warm and real in every evoking emotion the author shares…if you are Australian, or love Australia, you must read this exceptional book…” John, Indiebook reviewer


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