Monday, 14 May 2012
Review: Every Secret Thing
Every Secret Thing by Marie Munkara
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This wasn't the book I was expecting it to be, but that was because of my personal experience of North East Arnhem Land. And as I thought about it, perhaps all the love for Bapa Sheppy is like the "love" that the Bush Mob had for Fr Macredie in Every Secret Thing. (I don't think it was, but having read this book, I can't discount the possibility.)
Because it wasn't what I expected, I struggled a little initially with the book. But it's written in such an awesome way, this layer of humor covering (and yet revealing) the bitter hurt caused to the Bush mob by the Mission mob. The Mission mob are just so very *stupid*, and yet that's so completely believable. The dumb-ass things said and thought by the priests and the brothers and sisters, the ghastly awful attitude of the Bishop - I hate that it's realistic; I hate that people have behaved so very badly in the name of God; but they did and it is.
Marie Munkara's narrative style is just stunning. Her use of humor and bitterness and laughter and truthtelling grabbed me from the very beginning, and got me through every single moment of "I wish, I wish, I wish..."
I'm sure this was rec'd as a YA book, but I'm not certain that it actually is YA now that I've read it. In a lot of ways it's entirely suitable, and yet there's all that's implied in terms of abuse of the indigenous boys - and women - by the missionary Brothers. But if we're talking YA, then this is stuff kids know. And sure, they'll giggle if they read this at school, but reading about the truth of the Missions, the stupidity and outright horror of what white people did, what Christians did, the harm we caused and the utter nuttiness of whitefella pseudo-superiority in matters of faith and lifestyle...
This needs to be read. The words need to be heard and lived and accepted. And this book is a brilliant piece of that message.
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