Book Review: Paul Kennedy’s Funkytown is a vivid true story of Australian adolescence

Funkytown – aka the suburb Frankston in Melbourne’s south – is the new memoir from the acclaimed ABC journalist Paul Kennedy. Covering the span of just one year, Funkytown is an evocative and entertaining coming of age story.

Funkytown had it all in 1993: A Myer, two surf shops, double storey McDonalds, popcorn cinema, Brashs music store and more. It’s quickly evident that growing up in Frankston was bliss for Kennedy.

During the year covered in the book there were the fights, first crushes, first sexual encounters and plenty of AFL. But, amidst the growing pains, in the background, there was a serial killer on the loose on the streets of Frankston. So, all the while Paul is searching for direction in life, the police force is searching for a killer.

I found it interesting hearing about the different levels of AFL, and just how to go about getting drafted into the sacred code.  It’s safe to say dreams of a AFL career played heavily in Kennedy’s teenage years.  Hearing about male growing pains is always an eye opener for a female too. Kennedy comes across as a tough adolescent, but he also shows many patterns of vulnerability and softness.

Funkytown is a tale of two halves; and the second half just gets more interesting. For me, the entire book is proof that everyone has a story to tell. Whilst it did take me a few chapters to get into, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kennedy’s story. It developed into a real page turner, and I found myself in love with the way it is written – easy to understand and memorable. It was also, for me, personally relatable. I know the areas he grew up in, although I can’t recall the murders.

Funkytown is a love letter to adolescence, football, family and outer suburbia; one told with tenderness and humour. The ending felt very nostalgic and I fell so deep into the book I lost track of time.


Paul Kennedy’s Funkytown is available from Affirm Press. Grab yourself a copy from Booktopia HERE.

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