‘You are a stubborn, and extremely annoying young lady, but I really do believe that once you put your mind to something you are unstoppable.’
It’s 1942 in Melbourne. Life is changing. Men have gone to fight overseas; women have stepped into men’s jobs and twelve year old Maggie Flanagan dreams of playing football. But that’s against the rules.
When Maggie’s school is chosen to run a fundraising event for the troops, Maggie doesn’t want to bake or sew with the other girls and only boys can participate in the billycart derby. Why do boys have all the fun? Maggie is teased when she suggests an all-girl charity football match, but she's not going to give up.
“Could you even imagine? Sheilas playing footy!”
Surely she can’t be the only girl in Melbourne who secretly wishes they could play football. On her quest to find players, Maggie discovers school nurse Nancy, Marian the milk woman, Ivy who drives the ice truck, Miss Kelly and others who share her football dream. Word spreads, support comes from unexpected people and Maggie’s prayers to Mary are answered with enough players to field two teams, the Mighty Mis-fits and the Fighting Belles. But will people want to pay to watch two all-girl teams play footy?
The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan celebrates football, friendship and being yourself. It is a story heartwarmingly woven together with characters finding the courage to follow their own paths and supporting each other along the way. Maggie and Gerald’s friendship is a delight and as you eagerly turn the pages you will find yourself cheering on an unexpected winner at the billycart derby, watching The Wizard of Oz at the Astor while munching on a threepence bag of lollies, tapping your feet to the jitterbug at the Capitol Theatre, and barracking for the Mighty Mis-fits and Fighting Belles at Elsternwick Park.
Read the beginning of The Unstoppable Flying Flanagan here
Felice Arena has written another inspiring historical fiction story filled with heart and humour, engaging characters and a level of detail that brings the story to life and immerses us in Melbourne, 1942.
Maggie would love that women now play football in the AFLW.