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Book Review – The Quicksand Pony

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Title: The Quicksand Pony

Author: Alison Lester

Genre: Childrens, Australian

Length: 162

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

‘Biddy, I’m sorry, we’re going to have to leave her.’
‘What?’ Biddy struggled out of the quicksand. ‘You can’t leave her! The tide’s coming in. She’ll drown!’

But the pony is trapped and Biddy is forced to go on without her. The next day the only signs of Bella area hoofprints in the sand…with small footprints and the paw marks of a dog. Who has rescued Bella? Who could be so small and be alone on this remote beach?

Biddy’s search takes her into wild secret country where she discovers the truth about a mysterious disappearance that happened many years ago.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I read this book years ago when I was in primary school. I took it with me and my mother moved twice while I was still in school, brought it with me when I moved across the country to Melbourne, and then moved it with me once more when I moved across country again to Brisbane. I brought it with me all these times because I remembered really loving it the very first time I read it and I could not bring myself to let go of it. Now that I have reread it I can completely see why I felt the need to bring it with me each time I moved despite the fact it was a children’s story.

This is an excellent example of a story that both child and parent can enjoy at the same time. For the children it is a story about the rescue of a young girls pony and finding a small boy who has survived many years in the Australian bush and bring him back into the world. All happy endings and interesting adventures. For the adult its about all those things too, but also about, how the child can turn into the parent, the loss of trust that can be born through change, and the need to change and risk everything you have known your whole life to not feel lonely anymore.

I loved each and every character within this book. Our main two are Biddy and Joe and I think they were the perfect two to tell the story. Poor Joe has lived in the bush for years because his mother stole away with him when he was a baby due to a tragic accident with his father and made the rest of their family think they were both dead, keeping their distance from the rest of the world.

**SPOILERS** and with the years that pass his mother slowly becomes more and more filled with fear and more and more sick, forcing Joe to take over the role of the parent, until finally the sickness I suspect was cancer takes its final hold of his mother and she dies, leaving him all alone in the world. He lives alone for at least another year, with only a dingo puppy as his friend. But he longs for someone who will talk back to him. He then risks his whole world and small happiness he already has by exposing himself to the strangers he hatched watched drive the cattle, leaving his best friend behind. **END SPOILER**

Throughout the book Biddy is driven to correct the wrongs she feels she keeps on committing one after another, making things worst and worst, until they lead her to Joe, someone everyone but her and her best friend, Joe’s cousin, thought was dead all these years. They story being told through their perspective makes the story and sweet enough to the child’s mind, and it gives the adult an innocent view into much more complex things that if told through the eyes of another adult could have been much darker.

This is simply just a beautiful book, so I am going to end the review here. Everything that needs to be said about it have already been spoken and I don’t want to ruin this wonderful little bit of magic by going on and on about it in detail. Recommend this book to people who have children, enjoy these kind of simple stories, or have some connect to Australia in someway. If you don’t really like children’s stories I would not recommend it though. Do I still feel like I need to cart this book around since I have read it again? I don’t know. When I was finished I felt so satisfied with it that I could finally let the book move on, but now that I have been thinking about it for awhile, I don’t know if I can. I might want to read this to my children one day since I love it so.

 

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – On The Jellicoe Road

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Title: On The Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery

Length: 289

Rating: 5 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Ahh. I just don’t have the right words to explain how I feel about this book. I have read it so many times yet when I go to tell people they should read it, I can never find the words that will make them understand just how I feel about this book.

This is one of a few books that has made me cry my eyes out. Multiple times.

This is one of two books that once I finished it I found I wasn’t ready to stop yet and immediately turned back to the start and read it again.

Forget about the description, it doesn’t prepare you for what is hidden within this book. But I don’t know if I should try and explain it to you or not. I think perhaps you should go in blind and come out with new eyes.

All of this being said however I can see where some people might hate this book.Its depressing and there are very few happy moments, and so there is a lot of teen agnst. The structure might also annoy some, know the first time you read this you might be confused by its structure.

None of those things affected me though.

I love each and everyone of the characters, even the ones I hate I love. The angst doesn’t bother me at all. If I had been through the lives of some of characters within the book I would be angry or depressed too. I would find it unrealistic and less enjoyable if they were still so upbeat. However, the connection and love that develops between them all is just so beautiful and touching. It is probably wrong to say this, I would never want my life to be anywhere near as tragic as the ones they live, but I wish I could join in. I want to be part of that circle of friendship and family so badly, I kind of feel like I am though because of how I feel about them.

The structure and plot of the story is presented both in the present and the past, with the past story being presented to us in random segments. Part of the thing I loved about the structure was that I had to work out in what order those past events happened and understand how it relates to what we are living through in the present.

The writing is beautiful. Some of my favourite quotes of all time come from this book. If I was ever to get any tattoo, which I am so against, it would be a quote from this book. It is firmly placed in the top of my favourite books list. I am so glad I noticed the cover when it was on sale at Big W years ago. I don’t like to think about if I had of kept walking and decided I didn’t have enough money. It has gotten me through sad times despite its own sadness.

I will continue reading this book until the day I die. Its part of me.

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From Book to Movie – Looking For Alibrandi

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Title: Looking For Alibrandi

Genre: Drama, Coming of Age, Young Adult, Australia

Rating: 2 Star

Book Review

Description/Synopsis:

A teenage Australian girl deals with the traumas of everyday life. These include her difficult relationship with her single mother, the unexpected return of her long-lost father, the disapproving nuns at her strict Catholic school, the acceptance of her schoolmates,and romantic dilemmas over two very different boys.

Movie Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This movie kind of went by without me noticing much about what was happening. This is the reason why it got such a low rating, that and the fact that I don’t think I will watch it again. I’m not saying It was all that bad, I’m sure some people would love it if they liked the book more than I did.

The casting choices in the movie I thought were very good ones. The only one that I really had an issue with was Kick Gurry as Jacob Coote. Compared to all the other kids in the movie he just looked so much older than all of them and it was just weird.

I liked her Nonna and her father much more in this time round. They came off less harsh and mean. I still didn’t like her Nonna though.

In terms of plot they did leave out a few things, but that’s to be expected. I didn’t even notice they had left out certain scenes until I was sitting here writing this review so clearly they didn’t matter all that much.

The only thing that really bothered me about the movie was the fact I feel like they downplayed John Baton’s death a bit. I don’t feel they played up all the signs of distress and sadness he expressed to Josie before he committed suicide. I think they also downplayed everyones reaction to his death. I really connected with Josie in the book at this section, but here I didn’t so much. I think they also skipped over her section with Carly after his death, where they kind of connect, and that made me a bit sad.

So yes, I don’t think this was a bad movie. Those who love the book will probably love this movie. But like the book this movie was just not for me. If I had of been doing my HSC when I first saw this movie I think I would have liked it alot more. My own preference is why the rating is low, not because I don’t think people will enjoy it.