Whilst I really enjoyed this story, it wasn’t what I was expecting, I’m not sure what I was expecting exactly, but it wasn’t the story I got.
This was a story about belonging and finding out where you fit in the world, it was a story about bullying, childhood bullying and adult bullying including physical and mental abuse from family. It was a story about our fragile and beautiful environment, flora and fauna.
It was a powerful story, Karen Viggers shows her love for the environment throughout, making us aware of the many impacts we are having upon this fragile ecosystem.
Through Miki’s love of the Tasmanian Devil, she has befriended at the tip and through Leon and scientist Dale we learn about the tumours that are wiping out the devil population and what scientists are trying to do to combat this disease.
Logging, especially of old-growth forests has always been something that has baffled me and this is another subject tackled in this novel. Our governments have much to answer for in the destruction of our forests, forests we can never replace. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is another being that is impacted by the destruction of the forests. It isn’t just one species of anything that is impacted, everything is connected and everything is impacted when we destroy any part of the environment.
The three main characters in this novel are all struggling to find their place. Miki has been isolated all her life, first by her parents and then by her brother Kurt. This aspect of the story really affected me for some reason. I found it hard to understand how her family could do this to her and how Miki, up until now, had gone along with the limits placed upon her, it made me angry and uncomfortable. What Kurt did was nothing short of abuse and abuse in any form should not be tolerated, the people in the town, by ignoring what was going on, were essentially condoning this behaviour. This wasn’t the only behaviour and abuse the town continually ignored, condoning domestic abuse and bullying at every turn. We need to start speaking up for those who can’t.
Newcomer Leon’s presence in the town is the catalyst for many changes, including people opening their eyes to their behaviour. Leon was a lovely and genuine character who I was rooting for throughout. His neighbour, a young boy called Max is struggling with a dysfunctional family, an abusive father, and a school bully, Leon becomes his saviour, someone he can count on and trust.
As these three people impact each other and start to learn about who they are, what they want out of life and what they deserve, changes are on the way and secrets will be uncovered.I think for me, I would have liked a bit more of an emotional connection between the characters, I felt that though they were connected on some level, the lack of emotional connection didn’t draw me into the story as I would have liked.
A well written story, that explores important issues.