07 April 2020

Review: Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales audiobook cover
Leigh Sales is a well-known journalist here in Australia and she's received many awards for her contributions to journalism and her work on the ABC. Having spent years reporting on all manner of breaking news stories, Sales began to wonder how people coped with the life altering experiences and traumatic events and losses she was reporting on. She recognised her role as a journalist was to report often tragic and heartbreaking news, whilst acknowledging that the people she was interviewing were often in the midst of their own private nightmare and sometimes even the worst day of their lives.

Sales draws on events ripped straight from Australian headlines that more often than not, began as an ordinary day, informing her title of choice.

Sales interviews Walter Mikac about the Port Arthur Massacre, Stuart Diver about his rescue in Thredbo and subsequent losses and fellow author Hannah Richell about the drowning death of her husband Matt. She speaks to victims and survivors from all walks of life who have faced all manner of traumatic situations from accidents to natural disasters and acts of terrorism. She asks the tough questions about fear, fate, loss, trauma, death, grief, resilience, recovery, healing and hope in an effort to understand how we can better support those going through these events and perhaps even how to prepare ourselves for that one in a million moment.

Leigh Sales has no problem admitting her own shortcomings as a journalist and her fears about delving into the deep and meaningful with those in our community who have had the misfortune of suffering a great loss in some of the most unexpected and newsworthy of ways.

In listening to the audiobook from the library, my only complaint was that I wanted more depth in her research on the topic and I could hear her swallow throughout the entire recording which was very distracting.

Her insights are interesting and informative and while I was already very familiar with the stories of her interviewees, I did find the author's exploration of them moving. The interview with former Prime Minister John Howard was inspiring and I found myself wondering how he would lead us in our current COVID-19 crisis.

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales is full of empathy and is a successful attempt by the author to delve deeper into human nature and our resilience to the unthinkable. In 2019, Leigh Sales received the Walkley Book Award for Any Ordinary Day but for me it was a three star read. Recommended.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:
★ ★

Would you like to comment?

  1. Hm... sounds to me like this might have gotten a higher rating if you had read it in print... I wonder...

  2. There's a very good chance you might be right on that one Davida. I did wonder that myself. I've rated the last few non fiction audiobooks 3 stars and I'm keeping an eye out in case this becomes a trend. It could also be that these aren't books that I set out to read in print, but books that I saw were available in audiobook and I thought I'd give them a go.

  3. I’m curious about this one, though it does seem a little depressing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Thanks Shelleyrae, I didn't find this depressing, it was more about learning from their experiences and being more aware when it comes to how to respond if something like this ever happened to us or someone we know.
      It's surprising just how often victims of tragedy or grief lose friends because they don't know what to say or want to give them 'space' when they need support instead. I'd say this was inspiring in parts, but not depressing if that helps.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!