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Literature / Came Back to Show You I Could Fly

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Anyone who wore satin and silver lace and black nail polish, anyone who had a little flying horse tattooed on one shoulder, could reach heights undreamed of by other people.

Came Back to Show You I Could Fly is a novel by Australian author Robin Klein.

Seymour Kerley was an eleven-year-old loner, stuck with a fussy guardian in an inner-city suburb and forbidden to leave the house over summer holidays. Bored and unhappy, he sneaks out one day, and in his rush to get away from the bullies in the area, stumbles upon Angie: a beautiful, charismatic woman who lives in a shed out the back of one of the other houses in Seymour's guardian's neighbourhood. He is bewitched by her carefree attitude and wild behaviour, and she opens up a whole wide world to him that he'd never experienced before: shopping sprees, sojourns to rich neighbourhoods, gambling.

Angie, however, is not what she seems: it becomes apparent that she is unemployed, has to take medication dispensed from an out-of-the-way clinic for an undisclosed problem, estranged from her wealthy family, very probably a thief, and prone to fits of rage and "flu".

Came Back to Show You I Could Fly won the 1989 Australian Human Rights Award for Literature, the 1990 Australian Children's Book of the Year Award for older readers, and was shortlisted for the 1990 Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the NSW Premier's Literary Award.

It received a film adaptation in 1993. Due to rights issues involving the eponymous song, the film is Say a Little Prayer instead.

This book contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Seymour's father, who is described as being drunken, unemployed, argumentative, prone to threatening to kidnap Seymour across state lines, and occasionally, physically abusive.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Angie seems like she's living a glamourous life at first glance, but as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that she is deep in debt, pregnant, and estranged from her family, with her boyfriend in prison.
  • G-Rated Drug: Angie is on "drugs", apparently.
  • Resentful Guardian: Thelma, with whom Seymour lives during the summer.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Among Seymour's first impressions of Angie.
  • Title Drop: Angie sings the song, "Came Back To Show You I Could Fly" to Seymour and her sister Lynne over lunch.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The back cover reveals that Angie is a drug addict, despite this not being revealed in-story until page 159 of 189.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Seymour complains that "Morris Mervyn Reginald Carpenter" is such a terrible name that no real parent would ever name their child that.