Here is my sixth book review for the Aussie Author Challenge. It reveals the difficulty in being aboriginal in a white society. It was published in 1987, so has been around for sometime. I remember how shocked I felt when I first read it. Seeing Australian society through aboriginal eyes was very unsettling. Fancy anyone hiding their identity because of fear of being looked down on. Of course, since then, I've learned this isn't so unusual.
Sally Morgan is an indigeneous artist. Here is one of her works.
Besides Sally’s point of view, there are also stories from three other people - Arthur Corunna, Gladys Corunna, and Daisy Corunna. Arthur is Sally’s granduncle, Gladys is Sally’s mom, and Daisy is Sally’s grandmother, whom she refers to as Nan. It was quite difficult for Sally to get Gladys’ and Daisy’s stories as they were reluctant to share their past. Especially Daisy (Nan) who is defiant in keeping her past a deep secret. She lives in fear of being found to be aboriginal.
This book reminds me of another book on racism and slavery - Roots by Alex Haley, but lacking the outright violence in Haley's tome. The stories in My Place are eye-opening as we are taken back to history where we learn about the troubles and conflicts between races. At times when I read them, I became emotional and felt anger about how the aboriginal people were treated cruelly and in a totally unfair way. Fortunately, times have changed, but not as much as you might think.
Sally Morgan, proudly photographed in front of the Aboriginal Flag.
My Place is interesting from the first page but slumps a little in the middle. However, when I reached Gladys’ story, things picked up pace. Overall, My Place is definitely a must-read. I learned a lot about Australia while reading this book. It also stresses family importance and accepting one’s roots. Important things to ponder on.
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