Based on Trent Dalton’s iconic novel, Boy Swallows Universe tells the captivating story of two brothers growing up in 1980s suburban Brisbane.

The seven-part series was released in full on January 11th, and many viewers have already binge-watched all seven-plus hours.

Fans are raving about Netflix’s latest series, describing it as “beautiful and brilliant” and encouraging others to add it to their watch lists.

The drama series has received a 7.8 out of 10 on IMDB and an 89% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with fans online giving it a perfect 10 out of 10.


Inspired by the bestselling book, the series follows the journey of Eli, a 13-year-old boy facing challenges due to his mother’s drug issues and his stepfather’s involvement in drug dealing. As Eli grows up, his life takes a turn for the better in his later teenage years.


According to Netflix, this limited series presents an epic coming-of-age story that blends the magic and innocence of youth with the harsh realities of the adult world.

With a talented cast of Australian actors, including Phoebe Tonkin as Frances Bell (Eli’s mother), the show stays true to its Aussie roots and while the twists and turns of the show are fictional, author Trent Dalton drew inspiration from his own childhood experiences.

Hear Jonesy & Amanda’s chat with Trent Dalton:

In an interview with Townsville Bulletin, Dalton shared how he was influenced by his unconventional male role models, including his criminal stepfather and family friend Arthur ‘Slim’ Halliday, who was known as ‘The Houdini of Boggo Road’ and convicted of murder.

Dalton also mentioned that his debut novel, Boy Swallows Universe, is about a boy on a mission to free his mother from jail. He added that his mother was the first person to read it.


“Mum is my hero,” the 39-year-old says.

“She inspired the character Frankie Bell and I don’t have enough words in the book to go on about all the things my mum survived, things that other people would have succumbed to.”

“My mum went away for two years just like Frankie Bell does in the book.”

“Everything that happened in that passage in the book with the kid wanting to see his mum is pretty close to the bone for me.”

“I’m very interested in the child brain and the way it processes its trauma.”

“Across a period of about 15 years, I kind of saw a mess of drug abuse, domestic violence, alcohol abuse and anxiety.”


“I’ve always wondered, some things I’ve seen growing up, what did it do to you and how have I processed that?”

For about a year, the Award-winning journalist sat down at his computer after his daughters’ bedtime each night to funnel his childhood into a work of fiction.

The series is now available to watch in full on Netflix.

Want more? Listen to this best bit from Jonesy & Amanda!