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.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Scottish Thread.

Last Christmas my daughter read a string of books that coincidently all had homosexual protagonists. Her friend had a similar reading experience; every book she read was written from the point of view of a nine-year-old boy. This year it was my turn. I accidently read three books in a row that were peppered with Scottish dialogue. It's actually made me say things to my family like, 'I think I'll have a wee cup of tea.'
   The first book in my string of coincidences was Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. Being a classic by the famous "Island" author himself, the revered Tusitala, I thought I ought to give it a go. It was hard work. Broad Scottish dialect does not come naturally to the Australian ear even though I have a drop of highland ancestoral blood in my veins.
   Although this story isn't a Pacific Island one it is certainly about the islands off the coast of Scotland. I learnt a great deal about clans and how loyalties work within them (a bit like the wantok system) and also the politics of the time when the story was set just after the Jacobean uprising. And I must admit I felt a kinship link to the lovable rogue Alan who was the main hero in the story as he was related to the same Stewart clan who were my ancestors.
   The second book I read was a Terry Pratchett novel filled with little wee men and although I have a love of Discworld novels there's really no space for them on this blog. They deserve a whole blog on their own.
   The third book was an autobiography written by British poet Jackie Kay called Red Dust Road. Jackie recounts her life as an adopted coloured girl growing up in a sometimes racist Scottish town. The reason why I mention it here is it's a story with 'mana'. Jackie's desire to find her natural parents lead her back to the dusty roads of Nigeria where she finds her ancestoral home and eventually a warm welcome from a brother she never knew before. There are hilarious and disturbing encounters with her Nigerian father who is a successful man and a born again Christian.

Red Dust Road (Picador, 2010)

   I found this book a bit annoying to begin with as it jumps around in no particular order detailing events and conversations in Jackie's life. However the result is like real life; snippets of character are revealed in layers, making you grow to love both Jackie's adoptive and birth family. Issues of racism recur throughout the book, many of which resonated with me raising so called 'coloured' children in Australia. It is a heart-warming book and a good one for adult readers but be warned...there is still a lot of Scottish dialogue and a smattering of politics.

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