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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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Marooned on Mogmog by Jennifer Barrie

I was really excited when I bought this book because it was billed as a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson: an Aussie family marooned on a remote island in the Federated States of Micronesia. Wow, just my thing! I settled down, started reading and immediately became uncomfortable.
Marooned on Mogmog
(Harper Collins, 2011)
   The quality of the writing is poor, which is such a shame as the author has a great tale to tell. There are many aspects which continually jar the reader. The verb tenses change so often, many times within paragraphs that it makes you re-read many paragraphs trying to sort out when things happened. Continuity between paragraphs is sometimes missing meaning that you are flung from one topic to another with little connectivity. Cliche's abound, repitition is rife. Many times the author fails to write of concrete things, instead saying things like...we had a lot of fun, (such as...?) or refers to a friend who 'you have to read her emails to understand'. So Ok, let us read the emails, OR... please omit this sentence  because it doesn't add to the story. If Barrie had stuck to concrete details all the way through as she does with the death of a dog and its aftermath, the whole story would have lifted. I got the impression that not much editing was done on this book.
  The narrator comes across as a fun person but her voice lacks consistancy. She is sometimes businesslike, sometimes whingeing, sometimes rude. The spattering of profanities don't do the book much good either. She also indulges in hubris and culture bashing too much for my liking. However, having been an expat in the Pacific I understand how easy it is to make cultural mistakes.
   I was really upset for this author because the cultural divide she writes about is fascinating. The photos are terrific too. If only the editing hadn't let her down she would have had a good book. As it stands it's less than average.

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