Review Blog

Aug 17 2016

Marly walks on the moon by Alice Pung

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Our Australian Girl series. Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9780143308522
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Australian history, Multiculturalism. The fourth in this Our Australian Girl series about Marly, the daughter of a Vietnamese couple living in Melbourne is a delightful mix of Vietnamese customs surviving in their new home and an overlay of modern Australian culture seen through their young daughter. It is 1983 and Marly is mad for Michael Jackson and wants to dance like him, emulating his Moonwalk, while Mum with her second child is confined to her home for a month after the birth just as women were in Vietnam. Grandmother is scrupulous in trying to keep alive the old customs and finds it difficult to accept Marly's differences. She is not behaving like a subservient girl should, and Marly bristles at the adoration given to the new baby because it is a boy. Meanwhile school has its problems as well. The in crowd derides Marly, but her best friend, Yousra encourages her to dance at the end of year school concert. A party at Lauren's house shows her another world, and the kindness of that family is in stark contrast with the casual racism of some of the other children at school.
The dance and the support of her family, friends and teacher bring all the threads together, with Grandma making her Michael Jackson costume and Mum allowed out for the first time since the birth of her son. A lovely, gentle story which will encourage readers to think about the customs brought here by the multitude of different cultures that make up today's Australia.
Fran Knight

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