Review Blog

Dec 01 2009

Dust by Christine Bongers

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Woolshed Press, 2009. ISBN 9781741664461.
(Age early secondary) Recommended. Set in Queensland in the 1970's twelve year old Cecilia, her twin Punk and four brothers, live with the harsh background of parents struggling to keep the land viable. Cecilia says 'We had rules despite our unruly appearance: never praise, never thank and never apologise. In this family, you don't show weakness or you'll be called a girl. And no-one wants that. Not even me.' Pp10,11. With this mantra Cecilia is appalled when her mother insists that she is nice to the Kapernicky sisters, Janeen and Aileen, who have recently moved next door. Cecilia and Aileen immediately dislike each other and hurl abuse when they can. Cecilia feels that there is something awry and her mother implies this but still wants her to befriend the girls. Beginning senior school has many challenges for Cecilia but the final assault comes when she finds the truth about the Kapernicky sisters. This is a well scripted, sensitively written novel of growing up and learning to understand the horrors of some people's lives and coming back to redress them.
Sue Nosworthy

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