REVIEW: Tim

Author: Colleen McCullough

Genre: Adult Fiction

Rating: ★★★★★

Publisher: Harper Collins Australia

Get your own copy from Book Depository, Kobo, Amazon or directly from the publisher

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SYNOPSIS:”Colleen McCullough’s long out of print first novel now available for the first time in decades: an uplifting, unconventional love story that was hugely controversial on its release and became a major movie starring Mel Gibson.

Forty-three-year-old Mary Horton lives in a quiet middle-class suburb on Sydney’s North Shore. A straight-laced, emotionally distant spinster, Mary has worked hard to set herself up. With no partner and no friends, her idea of ‘life’ does not include personal relationships.

Tim Melville is a 25-year-old labourer with the body and face of a Greek god, but the mind of a child. A gentle outcast in a cruel, unbending world, Tim has a loving family, but is often derided and taken advantage of.

By chance, one summer morning Tim meets Mary and what begins as a day’s labour for the kind-hearted young man becomes a life-changing relationship for both of them.

DISCLAIMER: I received a paperback edition from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, therefore all written words are an accurate portrayal of my opinions. The review may also contain minor spoilers, so read at your own risk.


Tim is a beautifully pure love story that has defied the odds and is stronger for their differences. It follows the budding relationship between Mary Horton and Tim Melville, all the way from strangers to romance. I personally really enjoyed this novel a whole lot more than I expected, and it’s now one of my favourites! It tackles a somewhat taboo topic in literature, but executed it perfectly!

The main plot point of this novel is the friendship between middle aged business woman Mary, and the young and handsome tradie Tim. What makes their connection unique is the fact that Tim is mentally challenged and has the mental capacity of a child at the time of their meeting. At first, Mary just hires him to tend to her garden on weekends, but soon grows a fondness for the lad and becomes somewhat of a friend/career. Their relationship is beneficial to the both of them, as she helps him grow mentally whereas he helps her step out of her comfort zone and grow as a person. She helps teach him the basics of reading and writing as he never had the concentration necessary for school, she improves his vocabulary and understanding of things around him, but most importantly she teaches him to embrace his differences and to not let it stop him from living a fulfilling life. From their time together, Mary goes from a strict and loveless woman to someone so caring and outgoing that now appreciates human contact dearly.

My favourite aspect of this novel is how pure their relationship is. Their friendship is so deep considering Tim’s mental incompetence and lack of ability to create meaning relationships. The two do whatever is in their power to make the other happy, even if the other around them disagree. Mary’s main concern is that Tim is healthy, happy and comfortable when they are out in the cottage. She does small things like agree to go swimming rather than reading although she hates the water and large things like redecorating his bedroom to incorporate his favourite colours and furniture finishes. Whereas Tim shows that he cares in his special ways, such as comforting her as she told him that it stops sadness and repeatedly telling her he likes her as much as his parents. Nor Mary or Tim have any hidden motives behind their feelings, which really shows how great of a pair they are.

Their relationship doesn’t evolve into anything further until very later on in the story when Mary decides to give him the best life possible. One where he can grow into a man with a happy and loving family, rather than be treated like the child that he is so often. I really loved how obviously they both had feelings for each other, yet Mary kept it hidden as she didn’t want Tim to be ridiculed for their relationship, and Tim wasn’t aware of his feeling or how to act upon them. Mary helped him through his feeling and how he should move forward and embrace his love for her, while Tim helped her realise there is more to life than others opinions and helped her embrace her own feeling and throw away her doubts. It just shows how opposites really attract, and that friendship and romances can be so unexpected yet beneficial.

This novel was the first that I had ever read that was based in Australia and I freaking loved that aspect! The lingo used by some of the undeniably bogan characters used was absolutely hilarious because I have never heard the word ‘grouse’ used that excessively in quite some time. Also, the fact that Tim and his father were both builders was so stereotypical and great; as you can tell I’m extremely excited to get some Aussie representation in a heavily American dominated field.

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I have honestly nothing to fault for this novel. I didn’t find myself bored at any point in the novel, nor did I dislike any of the plot points. There may have been some characters and ideas I didn’t agree with, but they were necessary and written so flawlessly that I couldn’t bring myself to hate them: I just moved on and in the end, they resolved themselves. I laughed and I cried simultaneously, and at times together, which proves how much this story affected me. Tim is such a refreshing take on the genre of romance, and I wish more people would take a page from Colleen’s book!


That concludes my review for this fantastic and unique novel! Leave me a comment down below what you think of the story if you have read it, and if not I recommend you go out and read this beautifully diverse piece! Thanks for reading my review, and I’ll see you next time!

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