Review Blog

Apr 21 2009

Break of day by Tony Palmer. Read by David Tredinnick

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Louis Braille Audio, 2007. 4 CDs
(Age 11+) Recommended. A thoughtful look at the nature of courage and how people cope in the aftermath of war, Break of day is a memorable book that deepens the listener's understanding of how people react to difficult situations. Told in the first person by Murray Bennett, the story starts off in the jungles of Papua New Guinea where he is fighting on the Kokoda Trail. It then goes back in time to his life as a farm boy, where it traces the path that lead him, his brother Will and enemy Sid to their actions as soldiers.

David Tredinnick has a deep rich voice full of life and colour and he brings an extra resonance to an already wonderful story. He portrays the different soldiers with a tough masculine Australian accent and the listener is always able to distinguish between the different people and to gain a clear picture of their personalities from the reading. Murray's pacifist nature, his fear about being thought a coward when he was young and his inability to kill the farm dog, are vividly bought to life. Images of war, fear and hiding from the enemy on the Kokoda Trail are ones that remain in my memory, as do the feelings of empathy and compassion that this reading engenders.

A very useful audio for teachers who are planning a unit of work on war, Break of day not only celebrates family and love, but gives a balanced view of how war affects combatants and how difficult it is for many of them to fit in after the war. Its exploration of the meaning of courage will also engender thoughtful discussion.
Pat Pledger

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