Review Blog

Nov 25 2015

The natural way of things by Charlotte Wood

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760111236
(Age: 16+) Highly Recommended. 'Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.' This book was read in one sitting, as it was just impossible to stop reading. Long after the first reading the story haunts the reader, and current stories in the media continue to bring this story to mind.
The cover (pink, with flowers) encases a gripping exploration of misogyny and power that includes ten young women, and each of these women has been involved in some highly publicised sexual scandal. Each has woken from a drugged oblivion to find themselves imprisoned in the middle of nowhere in Australia. They are guarded by three violent, yet in some ways equally powerless, characters.
The Australian environment is described evocatively and leaves the reader in no doubt as to the harshness of their circumstance. As the story unfolds and wraps around the reader, many questions jump to mind. Why are these women the scapegoats? Why do women judge each other with the same standards they revile in men? Why are women dazzled and bribed by 'shiny things'? What don't women use the power they have, even when it might save their life?
This book compels the reader to think and has the reader seeking out others to discuss their reading of the book. This is an ideal book for a book group or for study.
Linda Guthrie

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