Girls born in suburban Sydney in the 1960s were rarely called Sacha, particularly girls who aspired to be Russian. Enduring her ordinary-as, non-Russian name was the first of many challenges ‘Sacha’ faced growing up: brown socks, too many teeth and a flat-as-a-crepe chest were others.
But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And when the suppositories she was given to cure her asthma made her vomit, the doctors had another think and recommended ballet instead.
Although she had the wrong head, feet, and body for ballet, thanks in part to drinking too much pink milk and lemonless-lemonade, Sacha’s determination to be Russian saw her push through and succeed against the odds in becoming something of a dancing star, surprising no-one more than her legendary dance teacher – an actual Russian – Mrs P, Tanya Pearson.
But there is a dark side to success for Sacha, including the shattering discovery that the green room in the Sydney Opera House is not actually green. All this learning and discovery makes The Grass Was Always Browner a laugh-out-loud memoir and a cautionary reminder that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, even in Australia.