Bibliophile: Brooke Blurton shares her story in ‘Big Love’

Big Love
by Brooke Blurton
Harper Collins

Brooke Blurton thought she was done with television after having her heart broken on the 2018 season of Network 10’s The Bachelor and then again on the 2019 season of Bachelor in Paradise, but there she was again in the 2021 season of The Bachelorette. This time it was more than just a quest for love, as she was the first Aboriginal and first bisexual suitor of the reality television’s franchise.

Brooke might seem quite young to be penning her memoir but, despite the happy, smiling image on the cover, she has had many more heartbreaks to contend with before arriving on the red carpets of The Bachelor reality television programs.

In Big Love, she writes about the scars she carries on her body through childhood misadventures and also the emotional scars imprinted on her being. It is quite a harrowing account and Brooke acknowledges that, struggling to survive her childhood and young adulthood, dreams were luxuries she couldn’t afford at that time.

Born in Noongar country of Western Australia, Brooke spent her early life with her mum and Nan, both who had five children with five different fathers. Brooke remembers being always hungry and sometimes being taken into foster care. She continually asserts that it was only the fierce love of her family, those who chose her as family and embracing communities that saw her through the hardships.

In her courageous memoir, she writes that there are some parts of her early life that she can’t remember because her brain is protecting her from the trauma. While she recalls the big love she has for her family, the amount of neglect and abuse she had to survive meant that she developed resilience form an early age.

While she doesn’t go into detail about her Bachelor experiences, she acknowledges that they were opportunities to provide a role model for both young Aboriginal and gender queer people, though she didn’t love the bisexual label she was given. Brooke doesn’t factor in gender when she falls in love, “whether it’s with a man, with a woman, with a non-binary person … with whatever.”

This Noongar-Yamatji woman hasn’t just survived. While owning all the experiences that have shaped her, she has refused to let her past define her. Now living in Melbourne, Brooke has become a passionate mental health advocate for Aboriginal and queer youth.

Thanks to the big love of people in her life, she has managed to reclaim her heritage, her culture and her country as sources of strength and spirit, and anyone who reads her memoir will fall in love with her.

Lezly Herbert

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