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Summary

This is Bryce Courtenay's moving tribute to his son, Damon, a hemophiliac who died from medically acquired AIDS on April 1, 1991, at the age of 24.

April Fool's Day is controversial, painful and heartbreaking, yet has a gentle humor. It is also life-affirming and, above all, a testimony to the incredible regenerative strength of love: how when we confront our worst, we can become our best. This tragic yet uplifting story will change the way you think. From the author of The Power of One.

©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

" April Fool's Day is one of those rare, wholly beautiful books that lets life speak for itself." ( The Australian)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dr
  • 01-04-08

Moving

I can't describe how good this book is. I was a mess by the end of it! Everyone should read this book. It is both moving and uplifting at the same time. The majority of us will be involved of caring for someone with a terminal illness at some point in our lives and thankfully the specialty of Palliative Medicine has come on on in leaps and bounds since this family endured this ordeal. This book captures perfectly the emotions, hopes, and fears of people in this position and I think it should be a compulsory text for all doctors and nurses in training.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wow an amazing emotional journey

a heart wrenching account from a brave loving family. I'm sure the subject would be very proud. wonderful to read, as a very different Bryce Courtenay book. it won't disappoint fans which have loved his other work, and for those that read this first, your next Bryce Courtenay must be 'power of one' and many more of his books after!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

SAD VERY VERY SAD

But testament to the love of a family and close friends to an unfortunate life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great writer. Poignant story . Harrowing

Sad in that author is so self effacing. What an incredible Dad he was! And the mother & the rest of them too. So well written. A good read. I hope the telling of this true tale was cathartic for all involved. The author shares my distain for the engine that is the Medical Profession; although some individuals caught up in its crazy system & forced to work within its system are wonderful. Narrator was a bit bland. The reading , for me, needed a bit more spark & depth because it was such a long book. Also on a personal note I can't stand that Ozzy accent- but it was only fitting an Australian read the story but a shame they couldn't have found a less " ozzy ocker" type speaker.

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emotional rollercoaster <br />

Wonderfully written and from the heart. Sometimes hard to listen to. Emotional journey to follow for anyone who has lost a loved one. Inspirational.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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heartwrenching

very moving. amazing strength shown by all charactors. thank you bryce for shating damon.s story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

understnding things I hadn't given much thought to

I was so moved about the sad story and was often in tears whilst listening. I think I have learned a lot from the story, things that I was ignorant to through lack of knowledge. I hope that I will be more understanding of these awful diseases in the future. Stories like this need to be told and I feel that I have a high regard for the author, his family and anyone who has been touched by these illnesses throughout their lives.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love by the many for one

Would you listen to April Fool's Day again? Why?

Yes. There are different narrator,s within this book each with a different thread and emotions

What did you like best about this story?

The different contributions by relatives and v. Close friends

Which scene did you most enjoy?

No one particular scene but maybe where a sense of humour is evident in spite being in great pain

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both

Any additional comments?

Read or listen to this book. It is about a family and their relationships to each other especially as the HIV transforms to AIDS. It also gives a startling in sight into how the disease develops alongside haemophilia.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

heart breakingly brilliant

If you could sum up April Fool's Day in three words, what would they be?

Heartbreakingly brilliant story.

What did you like best about this story?

A personal insight into the tragic yet optimistic life of his son.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

Read with feeling

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made me cry out and laugh in all the right places and sob at the inevitable end to the story and the life of Damon.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Moving at times but over long

This is a sad story of a brave life. At times it is very touching, you learn a lot about the illnesses and how hard you sometimes have to fight the medical profession for some humanity... But I felt it was too long and disjointed to fully immerse myself in. The story is mainly told by Bryce but, due to it's nature, other family members (including Damon) tell parts of the story. In the case of Benita, Bryce's wife, this is only once and didn't seem to have continuity. Humphrey Bower is as excellent as always.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • 03-12-07

This is A Love Story

The love between a father and his son is dominate. We are also treated to the private Bryce Courtenay, that shows him to very real with all the emotions. I enjoyed being in on their raising 3 boys. There were quite a few moments of levity thru out most of this narrative.
I do hope that you will not pass on this true story.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 12-09-07

A very Personal Work

People with current experience in the treatment of HIV/AIDS or Hemophilia may find this book very frustrating. It represents a personal journey through what was at the time a very uncharted territory! Courtenay does not try to paint a rosy picture - it is a story of his son's journey from birth to death with a lot of "glitches" along the way because of everyone's unfamiliarity with the nature of the AIDS virus.

It is, nevertheless, an amazing story of life and love. If you can grit your teeth through the bureaucratic nightmare, you will recognize the journey of a very remarkable young man and the people who loved and supported him.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Stephanie
  • 03-12-08

April Fool's Day

My heart goes out to Bryce with this story. Anyone who has to deal with the medical community anywhere should read/listen to this. You have to be your own advocate. You have to be educated about what health care can and can not do. Thanks so much to Bryce for sharing what must have been the hardest story of all to share. There is not enough thanks in the world for you and your family for this story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mimi
  • 30-05-13

A journey through another’s devastating illness

What made the experience of listening to April Fool's Day the most enjoyable?

Bryce Courtney took a subject very close to his heart and brought to the reader not only the horrors of facing so many struggles with hemophilia and full blown AIDS but also he related hope and joy with the stories of people involved along the way with his son’s illness.

What did you like best about this story?

Celeste and Damion’s relationship.

What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Humphrey Bower is the best reader of the dozens of books I have listened to. He brings the characters alive, and I cherish every word he speaks. I cannot miss a single word he speaks.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from April Fool's Day?

I have much more empathy for those who have suffered and still suffer from diseases that are looked upon with such ignorance. The book also taught me to question and do research on any illness I might get, to not just trust those “in authority.” I loved Dr. Cole.

Any additional comments?

The two best books I have listened to are The Power of One and April Fools Day, both written by Bryce Courtney and read by Humphrey Bower.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda K. Bailey
  • 10-04-12

Touching, yet a life lesson.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes I would recommend this book. This book is written from the broken heart of a father, who guides his son through a life journey of pain, suffering, compassion, love and how to enjoy life to it's fullest. You will laugh, get angry and cry.

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

Humphrey Bower brings all of the characters to life, not just in this book but in all of the books by Bryce Courtney.

What did you learn from April Fool's Day that you would use in your daily life?

Be more patient, compassionate , and loving.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bv5678
  • 05-12-06

What an author!!

Bryce Courtenay's only non-fiction work, April Fool's Day, is just as good or better than his top fiction books. What a moving story! another masterpiece by Bryce!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rachel
  • 01-03-14

Valuable information

What made the experience of listening to April Fool's Day the most enjoyable?

The honesty of the story and compassionate delivery.

What was one of the most memorable moments of April Fool's Day?

Damon's first major bleed as a toddler; the showdown with the Emergency Department just before Damon's death.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Humphrey Bower is AMAZINGLY talented! He is so adept at adapting his accents to each character, regardless of ethnic/national origin, he makes the story come totally alive. I have listened to most of Bryce Courtenay's books in part because of Bower's delivery. He is a wonder!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

..?

Any additional comments?

Bryce Courtenay's books have taught me so much of the various countries, areas and historical events and, now, about the experiences of a hemophiliac and his family. I had no idea - and I have worked in healthcare all my life!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • veronica
  • 15-02-14

Thanks!

Inclusion, connection, truth. Thanks so very much Mr Courtney. Thanks for bringing me back to earth with a slam...Inspiring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 24-01-14

A sad book that has lessons

This is not a book for everyone. This is a book that tells of a dying son and the father's journey through the death and dying. It is a true story of Bryce Courtenay's sons haemophilia and eventual death from AIDS.

Story: The story is well written and tries to tell the story from a number of people's points of view. This is successful in some ways but mostly it is Mr. Courtenay's story about his anger and fight on his sons behalf. I became a little angry at times having lived through a similar thing and also being a part of the medical establishment that Mr. Courtenay rails against. Some of the things that he says are simply wrong and others are interpreted by a grieving and angry father. The story should be read by every medical student in an attempt to prevent the "God Complex" that is such a problem with this profession.

Narrator: As usual Mr Bower does a superlative job. Does this man ever read a story in a bad way????

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dian
  • 16-05-13

Excellent Read

Very heart wrenching personal experience by this wonderful author. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful