My Place by Sally Morgan

I first read this for year 12 English and I don’t think I was1144682┬ámature enough to appreciate it at the time. As well as that, the truth of the atrocities and inhumanity shown to the Aboriginals was not taught. In fact, a lot of untruth was taught in Australian History. So as well as not being mature enough to appreciate it, it was almost considered fiction because we students didn’t have the full story.

What a heart rending memoir. At times I was close to tears and at others I was laughing aloud. I was also breathless at the treatment and attitudes. No wonder Morgan’s grandmother and mother didn’t want to tell her and her siblings about their heritage. Think that we are above the US because we never had slavery? Wrong! Aboriginals were slaves but to salve the conscience of the Europeans, they were called servants (women housekeepers and nannies) or workers (the men working at the big cattle stations). Education was kept at a minimum and permits were needed to travel away from your owners. No wages were paid (it was illegal) but a pittance was given as a sort of token. Women were property of the white men and the children from these unions were taken away. Children were taken away from their mothers anyway.

As well as the atrocities and inhumanity uncovered by Sally in a quest to find out who she really is, she finds out why she and her grandmother have such an infinity towards the wildlife and the land.

This is not the only story. The story also includes the horror her father encountered during his imprisonment during WW2. He and other Allied soldiers were in a prison nearby a concentration camp in Germany which housed Jewish people who were going to be killed. He said the sounds and smells from the camp were horrendous. He never recovered from the experience but the psychiatric treatment available in Australia then was ineffective and cruel.

A wonderful memoir and well worth reading again.

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Just – William by Richmal Crompton

742811I love the William books! I first discovered them when I bought 3 at a church fete for 20c each when I was a late teen. I flipped through the books and loved the illustrations. When at last I read them – gosh!! I was rolling in the aisles with laughter! Oh dear oh dear oh dear!!!! I’ve loved them ever since and had to buy more of the series. The charm and humour hasn’t been lost over the years and in fact, can be considered as equal to Wodehouse. William has two older siblings who are at the romantic phase and life with William is often fraught with misunderstandings with their prospective partners. And anyone who comes to stay is in danger … In one of the stories, Mrs Brown’s Aunt comes to stay (much to Mr Brown’s chagrin) and she, of hearty constitution, feigns weakness and snores like a steam engine. She ends up being a money spinner for William and his gang because she inadvertently inserts herself into a Show the boys put on. Soon enough, all that the village children want to do is pay a penny to listen to the snoring. Tee tee! Oh me oh my, the outrage when she wakes up! Oh dear! You’ve got to read these for yourself, the stories are a scream!

“The sort of things I want to do they don’t want me to do an’ the sort of things I don’t want to do they want me to do. Mother said to knit. Knit!” The scorn and fury were indescribable. His father looked out of the window. “Thank Heavens, it’s stopped raining! Go out!” William went out. There were quite some interesting things to do outside …”

The Red Sea Sharks (Tintin #19) – Herge

This is the first Tintin I’ve read f165526rom cover to cover and I had such fun reading it! Brilliant storyline and the characters are just so charming. I love┬áCaptain Haddock’s expletives that he roars out with such glee. Ectoplasm!! Coelacanth!! Ostrogoth!! Some of the issues raised in this comic are still relevant today. Slavery still exists, as well as the traffic in post-war transport and weaponry. But these issues are considered with compassion and matter-of-fact-ness. Snowy is gorgeous and so clever and brave! Pity Tintin doesn’t realise what Snowy is on about sometimes. And Snowy and the crab!!! And that rascal Abdullah! Oh dear! I think I will be reading more Tintin in the future.

The Blood of Carthage – Christopher Golden

293576Hmmm, I don’t know about this comic / graphic novel. It is based on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer series (which I loved and still do). The story is a bit strange and I don’t think it was developed enough. So, big demon is an ancient being from a dark age cult and they are supposed to watch over an even older demon who is evil incarnate. But the ancient demon runs away from Buffy in the end. Hrummphh. Maybe I’m too much of a Buffy purist that I couldn’t see the fun in it??

The White Tiger by Avavind Adiga

I really enjoyed reading this novel of how one man elevated himself from a life of 3675538poverty and misery. It is a darkly humorous book that shows the tenacious spirit of one man against the corruption, filth, and desperation to survive in contemporary India. Some of the descriptions of the filth and unsanitary conditions could be called gut-churning but really, the tongue in cheek observations of Balram take some of the edge off. Balram is rather sweet. He survives abuse in childhood but he develops a cunning which is to be his saviour. His tale is in a series of letters or missives to the then Premier of China, Wen Jiabao, who is to visit India on a state visit. Balram hears this on All India Radio and scoffs at the contents of the information pamphlet the Prime Minister will give him. Lies lies lies!! Inspired, he takes pen to paper to tell Jiabao about the real India, the one he has experienced as a poor village boy and as a successful and wealthy entrepreneur. It is also a way to assuage his minor(!) guilt feelings about killing his employer. Well, it is a dog eat dog world and only the most cunning survive. And he does, and tells the tale.

 

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