by Robert Hoge
Robert Hoge was born with a massive tumour, severely distorted facial features, legs that were twisted and useless, and a mother who didn’t think she could take her son home. His life could have been achingly sad, but with his family he filled it with joy, optimism and the naughtiness of boyhood.
‘One Saturday morning in early August 1972, my parents sat my two brothers and two sisters down and explained the situation. Then came the big question. One by one my parents asked my siblings whether they thought they should bring me home. In turn each of them said, “Yes, bring our brother home”.’
Home for the Hoges was the bayside suburb of Wynnum, Brisbane. Mary knew that her son s life would be filled with challenges but together with his dad Vincent they did everything they could to give Robert a typical Australian childhood, full of pranks, school camps and bad haircuts. But behind the smiles Robert, and his family, endured gruelling, dangerous operations that made medical history to give him a better life.
Ugly is Robert’s account of those years, from his birth to the arrival of his daughter in 2002. It is the story of an extraordinary person achieving great things by living an ordinary life.
Robert Hoge has worked as a journalist, a speechwriter, a science communicator for the CSIRO and a political advisor to the former Queensland Premier and Deputy Premier. He has had numerous short stories, articles, interviews and other works published in Australia and overseas. He also enjoys photography, and is interested in disability advocacy and social engagement. While he never went far with his professional lawn bowls career, Robert did carry the Olympic torch in 2000. He is married and lives in Brisbane. He has an eleven-year-old daughter who thinks his Olympic torch would make a really great cricket bat.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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