Showing posts with label domestic violence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label domestic violence. Show all posts

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The Bogan Mondrian


The Bogan Mondrian by Steven Herrick, (UQP)  PB RRP $19.95  ISBN: 9780702259982

Reviewed by Pauline Hosking

Luke, a Year Eleven student from ‘the wrong side of the tracks’, becomes a catalyst for helping Charlotte, a girl from a wealthy family, address the domestic violence occurring in her home. Steven Herrick chose these backgrounds deliberately because, as he says, domestic violence ‘is an issue that affects people from all classes, races and religions.’

Luke’s father has recently died from cancer. Trying to come to terms with the loss, Luke sleepwalks through each day, wagging school and compulsively taking photos. When he discovers the truth about Charlotte’s home life, he realises that his own life could be worse. Much worse.

This is a powerful story, told by Luke in first-person prose, celebrating courage, compassion and friendship. It is set in Katoomba and the background and characters are clearly Australian.

The book raises questions about what it means to be a man and a father in today’s society.  On the surface Charlotte’s father is a charming, successful business man. His darker side is hinted at, not described in great detail. By contrast, Luke’s father was a gambler, a drinker and smoker -  a rough diamond who adored his family. Luke himself displays unexpected strength and kindness as does his friend, basketball-obsessed Blake.

Steven Herrick is better known for his verse-novels like The Simple Gift. The poet in Herrick is obvious as he doesn’t waste a word and uses some beautiful, evocative images. Although the subject is serious there are many moments of humour between Luke and his mother, and between Luke and a neighbour who’s teaching him to swear in Italian.

The resolution is believable and will have readers cheering. The Bogan Mondrian is highly recommended, especially for boys from Year 8 upwards.

The title might confuse some readers. Here’s the explanation: Charlotte has painted her bedroom walls in squares like a Mondrian painting, turning the room into her retreat from the world. At the end of the book Luke (the bogan) paints his room exactly the same. This time it’s not a retreat, it’s a celebration.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

To The Moon and Back

To The Moon and Back by Dianne Bates (Big Sky Publishing)
PB RRP 14.99
IBSN 9781925520293

Reviewed by Kate Simpson

To The Moon and Back is a touching, often sad, but ultimately heart-warming book about adjusting to parental separation. Eight year-old Claire is caught unawares when her mother suddenly uproots her from all that she has known and whisks her off to a new house, a new life and, for Claire’s mother, a new boyfriend. Each time Claire feels that she is adapting to her new circumstances, life seems to throw something else in her way.

Although Claire, the protagonist, is 8, the book is more suited to a slightly older readership if it is to be read independently. For readers in the 8 to 9-year-old range, this could make an excellent story for parents and children to read together. Dianne Bates deals sensitively with the difficult subject matter, which includes brief references to domestic violence. Her characters are well drawn and wholly relatable, creating a moving middle-grade novel for readers who enjoy realistic fiction.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Running From the Tiger

Running From the Tiger by Aleesah Darlison (Empowering Resources) PB RRP $15   ISBN 9780994501066

Reviewed by Wendy Haynes

This is a story of true friendship. When ten-year-old Ebony meets Teena the new girl at school, she can’t believe her luck. A real friend at last. Follow Ebony and Teena as their friendship and trust for one another grows.

Darlison draws on Ebony and Teena’s growing friendship to give the reader a message of how friendship and encouragement can lead to overcoming a difficult family life.

This book for 10 -12 years old girls comes with a warning. It has a purpose of empowering those living with domestic violence. This social issue is woven tastefully throughout the narrative and encourages children to have a voice.

Ebony loves to run; it gives her freedom from her father and the abundances of chores and responsibilities he saddles her with at home. Both she and Teena among other classmates gain a spot in the zone carnival. With training commences after school Ebony dares to ask her father for permission. As the reader, you can’t help but have empathy for Ebony as she finds herself and strengths.

The climax comes when Ebony gets a chance to slips away with the encouragement of Teena, to compete at Zone level.  This book has a marvellous way of raising a difficult subject.