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, April 27, 2012

Photographer Helps Island School

Students from Viwa Island would love some books to read.
Source: Michele Darmanin
Australian photographer Michele Darmanin travelled to Fiji in november last year with her husband. They visited Viwa island in the Yasawa Group and were delighted by the school children who strived hard to learn but had no resources.
   How common is this? Everywhere throughout the Pacific there are hundreds of villlage schools suffering the same plight.
   Michele and her husband were determined to help the children of Viwa and started sending books over to the island. They have requested donations of books Australia wide to cater for primary-aged students. If you can help donate a few books, contact Michele Darmanin on her blog Aussie Heavenscent. Or there is a link through Facebook called  Donate-A-Book-on-behalf-of-the-School-Children-of-Viwa-Island-Fiji.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Island Girl by Lolo Houbein

Island Girl is a story for teens set on an island off the South Australian coast. Written by author Lolo Houbein, the text has an odd style which often omits the subjects of sentences. This gives the prose a brooding effect but it also makes some of the reading clunky and awkward sounding in your head. I also had the feeling that the teenage voice hadn't been adequately captured. I have no idea how old the author is but many of the expressions used in the protagonist's internal dialogue are those of a "baby boomer" or even older.
Island Girl
(Hybrid Publishers, 2009)
   As for the plot, well... not much happens except the protagonist Bianka makes a decision about what to do with her life. There is a romance of sorts, but that's a long way into the book and if the start doesn't hook you, then you're unlikely to persevere. Most of the story centres around Bianka's indecision and the inner turmoil she feels at not knowing what to do with her life now she has left school. It is a source of conflict for sure, but quite a tame one. Plenty of paragraphs are taken up with planning meals and gardens and unless teens are interested in self-sufficiency tips, I really don't feel there is a lot to engage them.  
   If you are after a slow, introspective read then you may enjoy Island Girl. However if you are after a story with a strong plot and plenty of action then you may as well look elsewhere.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Many schools in the Pacific have class sets of this classic, and it's certainly a story well worth reading. First published in 1952, the edition pictured here is published by Random House.
   Hemingway has a simple style that uses a minimum of words to describe both action and emotion. In this story Hemingway writes about an old man who lives in a fishing village in Cuba. The old man loves fishing but has had no luck in catching anything for over two months. One day he goes out too far in his little boat and hooks a huge marlin. He is all alone with no one to help him pull in the enormous fish. Proud, determined and weakened by age and lack of sleep, he battles the predators of the sea to land his catch.
   This is a terrific study of character and although the plot is simple it is written with such clarity and warmth that the reader is captivated till the end. A bit like that hooked marlin, really.