Friday, July 16, 2010

The Night They Stormed Eureka

Title:The Night They Stormed Eureka
Aurthur: Jackie French
First Published:2009 by harpercollins

Sam has lots of family troubles and decides the only thing she can do is to run away. she ends up on the Ballarat gold fields in 1854, not long before the Eureka Stockade. she is picked up by a couple who run the 'best little cook shop on the diggins' and gets everything she's ever wanted, a family that loves her and friends who help her. life in the diggings is very different to life in the 21st century, to Sam seems so simple. the longer she spends there, she realises it is just a hard. she has to make some incredibly hard choices that could effect Australian history and culture from then on. she knows about the bloodshed and death, should she warn them that they will be attacked at dawn on Sunday so they save lives? would Australia be better off as a republic? with the help off her friend the professor she learns that all she can do is ask her self weather this bit is good or bad. Sam's trip back in time teaches her so much. it showed me how far we have come in 150 years, things people thought were impossible, like education for women, are now standard. my favourite lesson, and the most predominate, is that people can achieve things when they stand together that they could never get near alone.

i really enjoyed this book, but i found not a lot really happened. it was not boring in the least, but they're was really only one exciting or major event. this is mainly because even though their are no battles or fights Sam is the characters are constantly fighting themselves. Mrs Puddleham, Sam's adoptive mother, is battling with the memory of the baby she lost on the ship to Australia and her friend George is pushing the strains of being a half aboriginal who wants an education.

this is very easy to read and understand compared to other historical novels because Sam knows as little as we do. there are also appendices at the back including recipes from Mrs Puddleham and an explanation of things that you might not understand, including terms like "redcoats" and some extra information of the stockade which was useful and interesting.

i am very happy that this novel wasn't ruined with an "it was a dream" ending. towards the end i was worried that Jackie Frech would cop out have her wake up and say she was dreaming, but instead she gave us a propper believe ending, which left me wondering what happened to Sam but sure that she would get the help she needed and be happy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


title: Dodger
Aurthur: Libby Gleeson
First Published: 1990 by Turton & Chambers

Mick is cast as the artful dodger in the school musical, Oliver. on the edge of the popular crowd he isn't sure what they'll think but after a couple of mishaps he is convinced to take the risk. but being in the musical doesn't always go smoothly. what mick doesn't know is that his history teacher Penny has stuck out her neck to have him in the musical because she wants to give him a hand. after a run in during the first lesson mick penny's special project, for reason she can't explain she is drawn to him. in a letter to her friend she writes "i see him as one of those immature kids who's got to prove himself to kids who are a bit older and a bit more established in groups or friendships. the responsibility of being in the play could be really good for him, make him grow up a bit". this is exactly what mick does, it also gives him a change to make some friends who aren't footballers who don't give a stuff. with all these changes stuff gets mixed up for mick and lots of old issues come to head, unfortunately in the middle of the play. mick had kept a lid on how he felt about his mother's death and his father working as a long distance truck driver for 3 years.

i really enjoyed this book and found it over all very realistic and easy to understand and relate to. the letters from history teacher penny to a friend help us get a very different view of mick and life as a teacher. for someone like me who is considering being a teacher she is exactly the type i want to be, interesting, nice, but still in control. it shows teachers in a much more human light which i think is a nice change, it's something i forget while I'm at school. the book flows very well but i found the ending a little sudden, i would have liked to know more about what happened after the musical. even though the ending was quite sudden it was a good ending. some novels about grieving over a death have very dramatic endings, with Dodger the ending was much closer to life. though this is a very good, and over all very realistic book i found how quickly and easily Mick turned his life around a bit fake. in my opinion at least, you don't just stop being friends with 2 popular and quite mean guys. especially because at the beginning he was very concerned of what they thought and what they would do. i also felt that time wise it was strange, at the start it was first term and suddenly it was third term. once you are caught in the story neither of those things things matter much. it was only when i got to the end and went WHAT!? that i noticed these faults.

this book was very good and a had subtlety i've never seen before in a book about a child losing their mother.