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.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cry of the Taniwha by Des Hunt

Cry of the Taniwha (Harper Collins, 2009)
This book is a runaway read. It only took me a few days to get through and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Aimed at older Primary , junior Secondary level, it is the story of Matt Logan, a boy on holidays with a metal detector. Matt discovers more than just a few gold coins when he goes detecting at Rotorua. He manages to unearth a mystery that has remained secret for over a hundred years.
   The first two chapters outline the historical crime but the rest of the narrative deals with the present including the tourists and the street gangs. Matt befriends Juzza, a youth determined to join a gang and Eve, an Aussie with a talent for research. The character of Juzza is well drawn as it's hard to determine where his loyalties lie. There is also a revered heron who takes part in the story.
   I think anyone who enjoys a mystery would like this novel. The pace is steady and the tension climbs well to the resolution. There is even a surprise ending...
   This book is probably too easy for PSSC students but it's still a great experience. It was shortlisted for the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My Island Home by John Singe

My Island home (UQP, 2003)
I am ashamed to say that I never finished My Island Home. I tried to read it several times and I really wanted to finish it but I found the author's style turned me off. Not that he's a poor writer in terms of his command of English. It was the structure that failed to hold my attention.
   The black and white photos in the centre are delightful and I am sure that Singe's vast experience of more than 30 years in the Torres Strait bubbles with interesting anecdotes, customs and stories. However I found myself getting lost very quickly in the rambling and disjointed narrative he has written. This is such a pity as I could see dozens of opportunities in each chapter that were worth expanding and turning into heart-felt or humorous stories. Singe's rushed and crowded structure lacked connection with characters and so I felt little empathy with anyone he wrote about. I wish I could say more positive things but this book was truly hard work and I only managed to finish the first two chapters.