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Monday 24 June 2013

'All I Know': Mary Coustas Book

When I received a copy of the new book by Mary Coustas called 'All I Know' a few weeks ago, I immediately flipped opened the cover.

Was it that Mary Coustas? The funny one? Who created the inimitable 'Effie'
, the big-haired 'wog' who quite possibly burned a new hole in the ozone layer with her overuse of hairspray?

Why yes, it was!

But then I read the subhead: "A memoir of love, loss and life from Australia's favourite comedian."

My heart sunk. Oh no! Who died?

Several people close to her heart, it became apparent.

Says Australian actress Naomi Watts about Mary's new book:

"Mary's book is a reminder that we don't have to be alone with grief. Her heartbreak and inspiring story is a lesson to all of us on how to live life to the fullest even in our most difficult moments. I loved it."

The book begins by painting a colourful picture of Mary's childhood in Collingwood and Doncaster, under the shadow of her father's mortality, and ending in sunny Bondi, supported by a tight circle of girlfriends who got her through a death even more painful.

In the book, Mary takes the reader on a journey through three deaths that changed her life forever.

Here is an excerpt from her incredibly powerful story, as told to 'The Good Weekend':

Six weeks after George and I were married, I found out that I could not have children. A laparoscopy revealed that I had blocked fallopian tubes. Our honeymoon was brought to a swift end by an unanticipated and massive blow. I was told my only option was IVF. I was completely winded emotionally.

The shock of hearing the news that I could not have children naturally ricocheted in me for months. My future as a mother was now at the mercy of laboratory long shots.

But fall pregnant she did.

She continues:

On the day of my pregnancy blood test in December 2010, the only time I wasn't within earshot of my phone was when it rang. I was in the bathroom - on the toilet, to be exact - when I heard Nathalie, my close friend since childhood, yell out as she was running towards me, "It's your doctor!"

I froze. I couldn't get up. I couldn't move.

I managed to open the door slightly just as Nathalie passed me my phone. I sat there with my trousers around my ankles and with my heart skipping beats, trying to listen with my fertility tone-honed ears for clues. The confirmation came - third sentence - I was pregnant! The exact words were, "We have great news, Mary. I'm pleased to say, it's a positive result. You're pregnant."

The story continues with a heartbreaking, devastating outcome.

To read more, click here.

Mary's book is utterly raw, moving, and it is so upsetting to read of Mary's ordeals.

The woman who gave us a gazillion laughs from the days of her 1987 ground-breaking stage show role in 'Wogs Out of Work' (where 'Effie' was born), and who followed this up by five seasons of the TV sitcom hit 'Acropolis Now', has already written a book, one on self-help for teenagers titled  'Effie's Guide to Being Upyourself.'

Feel free to comment below on Mary's story. 

'All I Know' by Mary Coustas will be available from June 26, 2013 (RRP $24.99).

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