Review Blog

Jul 04 2017

Trouble tomorrow by Terry Whitebeach and Sarafino Enadio

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760291464
(Age: Mid teens) Highly recommended. One of the benefits of reading stories, it is said, is that the reader travels to places they otherwise would not; and confront experiences they would not otherwise have. From these things we learn, vicariously. By the end of the prologue this book has transported the reader to the civil war lands of southern Sudan, landing in the midst of a village raid by rebel soldiers - as far from western comfort zones as could be. The reader is running beside Obulejo, mid-teens son in a highly respected village family with a father of wise morals. But returning to family doesn't ensure safety as the raids continue; finally Obulejo keeps running. The landscapes he must cross do not bring safety either. Constantly danger prowls: groups of wandering rebels; tribal groups protecting their country; and, of course, wild animals on the hunt. Reaching a refugee camp only provides an illusion of safety. There is protection from others for a while but the common goal of survival - basic survival - means that each individual must eventually find a way to simply stay alive. The reader feels Obulejo's agony as he makes decisions that he must, which fail his father's teachings. The writing is relentless, compelling, unremitting - as it should be to reflect the ever-present dangers and horrors that haunt the lives of all of these refugees. Eventually Obulejo escapes the clutches of the camp environment. To detail here how he does would spoil the gripping tension of his story. But it takes many years and those who would deny him the safety of our lands should read a book such as this to better understand why that position is wrong. Every mid-teen Australian should be encouraged to read this book, highly recommended for that reason.
Kerry Neary

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