Review Blog

Jul 17 2008

Pix and me by Carolyn Ching

cover image

Hachette (Lothian), 2008. ISBN97873441058 0
When the Japanese planes bomb Singapore, and their army swarms in, Andy knows that what has happened before is only minor compared with now.  His father, a botanist employed to catalogue the plants in the small colony, is taken away with his wife and Andrew runs off taking his monkey, a macaque called Pix with him. As they wander through the jungle looking for food and water, Andrew recalls the time leading up to the invasion, and how the Japanese, called Kempeitai, infiltrated the island long before the invasion.

In the jungle he happens across a young girl called Emmeline, a girl used to getting her own way and only dealing with servants. They clash as the girl begins to tell Andy what to do, but soon they come to rely on each other to survive.

A fascinating look at the plight of the inhabitants of Singapore at the start of the Pacific War, Pix and me has all the ingredients to make it an eagerly absorbed story. Slow to get going, and overly long (310pages), with extensive descriptive passages, the book will need to be sold to students who want to read an historical novel, especially those who are intrigued with our involvement with war in countries close to Australia.
Fran Knight

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