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Reviews of “Goodbye Crackernight”


“Goodbye Crackernight” Review by Karen Carpenter, Sydney, Australia

Goodbye CrackernightIt doesn’t matter whether you grew up in Epping or Elanora, if you grew up in the suburbs in the 1970s, then you are in this book. If you’ve ever roamed your neighbourhood from dawn to dusk barefoot in summer with your mates, if you’ve ever egged each other on in feats of derring-do, like jumping off gutters dressed as Batman’s Robin, then you’ll love “Goodbye Crackernight”.

Reading “Goodbye Crackernight” is pleasurable nostalgia from cover to cover. You and the author are engaged in a cosy mate to mate conversation as you ride barefoot through the streets of your childhood. The introduction ‘Let’s Pedal’ sets the tone and at once you are a part of a warm family and friends. You are a part of the book and the book is a part of you.

It is rare that you will find a book so engaging that you forget you are in the modern world. “Goodbye Crackernight” did this seamlessly. I laughed through most, cried through some, even had a mini epiphany! This book is that special. Beautifully set out from beginning to end, you’ll want to read it over and over. Come on, who doesn’t miss crackernight?

A Second Good Review of GOODBYE CRACKERNIGHT in Lead Up to Launch!

A Huge Dose of Nostalgia by Wendy O’Hanlon

The Budding Author

The Budding Author

For all those Gen-Xers out there, this book is pure warm and fuzzy nostalgia – page after page after page.

Remember when, as a child, there were three highlights of the year – your birthday, Christmas and cracker night.
Remember when fun cost nothing, going barefoot, bicycle riding, roller skates, building your own billy cart and running carefree around the neighbourhood. Remember the orange mix called Tang, lime Quik, chip butties. Remember the record player and Top 40 singles, pet rocks, The Seekers. Remember Romper Room; rushing home from school to watch the afternoon TV shows and cartoons such as The Roadrunner, The Monkees, The Thunderbirds.

Remember the TV cop shows such as Division Four and Homicide. And who can forget the neighbourhood star – the Valiant Charger.

Goodbye Crackernight is a huge dose of nostalgia told with great humour and fond memories. Remember your best buddies, your first kiss, your first fight. If you can remember any of these things, you will love this book. It’s a walk down memory lane – great to be a child and teenager again!

Wendy O’Hanlon

First Review

What a cracker of a book this is by John Morrow


Back Cover

Back Cover

What a cracker of a book this is. It’s full of memorabilia from the days when you had to amuse yourself without the use of electronic devices. I, together with the author, am pleased we lived and remember the 1970’s.

Cracker Night was just one of the annual events we looked forward to as youngster, along with Christmas and birthdays. If you mention the words, Cracker Night, today’s kids would look at you in a strange way and think you were ‘crackers’, or in today’s term, ‘off your head’.

Kids would also continue to look at you in a queer way if mentioned the joy you had watching a catherine wheel, a throw down, or a roman candle. All of these are now gone, thanks to those fools who mistreated the responsibility of letting off those wonderful crackers, as we all watched them go up in a puff of smoke.

Justin Sheedy describes some of the antics he got up to at preschool and the tales from big school also a hoot. He went off to big school holding his mother’s hand, watching other kids bawling their eyes out… not Justin, off he went straight up to his new teacher and sat down next to his first mate Seamus which is pronounced Shaymuth.

This is the life and times of Justin Sheedy a man who has a deep dark secret. When he was three, he admits to having nude Barbie dolls that were hand me downs and were commonly known as the nudy rudies. Was this his introduction to sex, or was it the two teenagers doing a little more than just plain kissing in the back seat of an FJ Holden?

All in all though, Justin describes those innocent playtime incidents with joy, especially when it rained and the streets were flooded, the gutters overflowed with water, and boats were made out of paddle pop sticks.

Justin admits the kids of today are probably more techno sound, but he and his friends don’t care anyway, they had more fun.

What a cracker of a book – you’ll cack yourself laughing at the times when you made your own fun. Justin and his friends give you the opportunity to experience life in the 70’s
John Morrow

For more reviews, click HERE or click the Book Review links in the list at the right of this page.

From “Goodbye Crackernight” reader, Rob Baker, 11 August 2013 (“Goodbye Crackernight” STILL SELLING AFTER 4 YEARS SINCE PUBLICATION!)

“Recently finished reading Goodbye Crackernight and I have to be honest, I was sad about it. It’s the sign of a good and enjoyable book when you don’t want it to end!  Justin has such a easy going approach to telling these stories, one could almost imagine that you’re hearing them over a friendly BBQ and a few beers. It didn’t hurt that I spent a good many years living in the same area, albeit about 10 years later, so I knew pretty much all the landmarks mentioned within.  But as someone who also mourns the loss of way simpler and different times, this book really struck a chord for me. Thanks muchly Justin!  I would (will) re-read this book and readily recommend it to any like-minded souls such as myself.”

And from reader Scott Clare, 6 July 2013…

“Hi Justin, I wanted to send you this message to tell you how in love I am with Goodbye Cracker Night.  I’m still only half way through but it’s like you are opening my head and reading my memories!  Us Epping boys need to collectively thank you for putting our childhoods into a time capsule!  And so beautifully written.  Although I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks (Treeview Place, Epping) is it an audiobook?  I’m an amateur actor but an old Epping boy and Sister Stigmata reminds me creepily of Sister Patricia the one eyed menace!  I could bring my old memories of being caned with Morgan Kelly to the table haha.  But seriously I couldn’t wait to send you the message to say how much I love it, and I’ve heard from other school mates who have read it who feel the same Scotty x”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 September 2009 10:28 am


    Heard about your book on the radio. I have just listed it on our site. The image from your blog shoild be linked by tomorrow. Would you like to add it to our new blog? We just finished it and are ready to start populating it. You could use some of the reviews already from your blog that will be acknowledged.

    Good luck with the release!

    Shlomo (also born in the 60s)

  2. 9 September 2009 10:50 am

    Hi, Shlomo.

    Great that you heard the interview on FM 99.3 this morning. Was a pleasure to do – Announcer Tom Furey’s an excellent bloke.

    Brilliant that you’ve listed Goodbye Crackernight on your site. Look forward to the cover image being posted (front cover only, I assume). And yep, please add any and all info re the book to your new blog.

    Cheers for your good wishes
    Justin Sheedy

  3. simonne permalink
    9 December 2009 11:21 pm

    Hi Justin,
    I loved the book.I too was born way back in 1968.I grew up on the central coast,Umina Beach,NSW.Back then it was a small coastal town.Everyone kind of knew everyone.We had a lot of adventures on the Malvern Stars,doubling with sometimes 1 on the handle bars and one 1 on the back of the seat,no helmets or shoes or we did a lot of walking.We spent a lot of time down the beach,riding down the shops,exploring the bush.We were in “Brownies”.We didnt have a lot of money,or a lot of toys.We built “Cubby Houses” everywhere.Envied the neighbour who had a pool,played knock and run,sold mums plants,had chooks,knocked on doors to do “Odd Jobs”then spend 2 hours raking some old lady’s lawn for 20 cents,which would buy so much,even if you bought a “Big Charlie” bubblegum,you got change for more lollies.Everyone was Mr & Mrs.We had a gold Kingswood station wagon no seatbelts were used,a swing set,outside toilets,a lime green kitchen with matching lime green vinyl chairs on the dining suit, a verticle grill which mum would cook our lamb loin chops in,a chunky red dial telephone on the buffet unit,a rubbish pile dad use to burn every 6 months in the backyard which usually scorched the fence,a black and white HMV t.v,where “The Sullivans” were a ritual,along with the afternoon cartoons,bewitched,I dream of Jeannie…I could go on and on.The book bought back SO many memories,things I had forgotten about,similarities of school teachers and playground stories..And yes Crackernight..where we would all stand around in our highly flammable winter dressing gowns and let off the hours fireworks and sparklers,we stood them in plastic buckets of sand.It was usually a big get together with friends and family,bbq,beers,wine and mums chocolate cake topped with cream and grated chocolate,staying up late and lots of OOOO’s and AAAAh’s.I would love to write it all down and share my stories of growing up in the 70’s,it has inspired me.What a time…It stirred a lot of emotion,now the good old days are gone.Kind of sad.Thanks Justin I loved the book.

  4. 10 December 2009 9:38 am

    What an utterly brilliant comment by you, Simonne, and superb recollections by you re your childhood, great insights, hilarious too. (How did we ever survive?) I’m truly glad you’ve enjoyed the book and connected with it in the way you describe. Really rewarding to hear that the story stirred emotion like that. Highly gratifying to hear.

    But now I think I must go to the Doctor to have a dangerous excess of my own Adjectives and Adverbs removed.

    All the very best to you, Simonne. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  5. Frances Simmonds permalink
    9 February 2010 1:06 pm

    Hi Justin,

    Congratulations on your book, it was great to read your book and remember a time gone by, as I grew up down the road from you most of the charaters in the book came to life for me.

    How I remember your mother was one Sunday mid-morning (after mass), my mother sent me out door knocking for the Red Cross. When I knocked on your front door your mother answer, she gave me a dollar or two and then said, I wouldn’t go next door as the “Jacksons” are having on of their parties.

    Even now I find it so funny that your mother who was so holy and Catholic lived next door to the Jacksons.

    It has been over 20 years since I lived in North Epping but when I talk with my siblings of those times all the members of your family are in there.

    Congratulation again and looking forward to your next book

    Keep well


  6. 10 February 2010 12:02 am


    Lovely to hear from you. Thanks for such kind words and am I happy you enjoyed the book!

    A classic recollection from you re you, my mum and the people next door – what an excellent anecdote.

    I have very fond memories of you, your mother and father (great people – their post Carols by Candlelight drinks were something I cherished every year – and I didn’t even drink at age 10!), also your excellent older brothers. I really looked up to them. Ian was a hero of mine, and Robert I met later, such a serious academic type, a formative influence there too.

    Cheers to you, Frances. Great to hear your voice.



  1. Author Justin Sheedy Special Guest at Dymocks Chatswood Christmas VIP Night, Thursday 21 November, 2013 | Goodbye, Crackernight
  2. “A book so engaging that you forget you are in the modern world” – Latest Review of “Goodbye Crackernight” by Justin Sheedy | Goodbye, Crackernight

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