About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Island Exiles by Jemima Garrett

It's amazing the treasures you find in second hand bookshops. This week I found Island Exiles, the non fiction account of how the Nauruan people survived Japanese occupation and starvation during World War Two. This particular book helped me to shape much of my first novel, The Birthmark. But the copy I had then was borrowed from a lady who probably cursed me for not returning it sooner.
   I did give it back, eventually. And now I have my own copy.
   The book records the experience of a handful of older Nauruans who were mostly children when the Japanese invaded in 1942. Some of them I knew from when I lived there myself in the early 1990s. Their stories are filled with wonder and fear but also a sprinkling of humour.

Island Exiles (ABC Books, 1996)

   Many Nauruans were shipped off their island to the Micronesian island of Truk during the height of the war. This left the native population on Nauru at less than eight hundred people. For Nauruans, building the numbers up to 1500 had a huge significance for famine and disease had decimated the population in the past. 1500 was known as the Angam number. Below this population number, the people believed they would die out. After the war when the survivors from Truk were returned, Nauru had to build their numbers up again.
  The book is easy to read and sets out what happened in Nauru alongside other actions of the Japanese during the war in the Pacific. A series of endnotes in the back sorts information into categories but the lack of an index is annoying. I would however, recommend it for PSSC History and English students.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Beth - I agree - it's a great book and special!