About Me

My photo
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, February 25, 2013

The Ghosts of Iron Bottom Sound by Sandy Nelson

The Ghosts of Iron
 Bottom Sound
(2010, Harper Collins)
I was really interested to read this thinking it would have scary ghosts haunting Honiara or Bonegi Beach but no, it's not so dark. They are actually quite benevolent ghosts that reside in a book that the protagonist Paddy repeatedly borrows from the library. They hound the boy to ask his grandfather about the battle for Savo Island and the sinking of HMAS Canberra during WW2. Paddy's grandfather was a crew member on the fated ship and was rescued but hundreds weren't so lucky. Unfortunately his grandfather doesn't like to talk about his war experiences but he lets Paddy read his journal which outlines the full horror of the sea battle.
   The story is pitched at younger readers and the journal account of life on board the warship is fascinating and well presented for 8 to 12 year olds. I get a feeling older readers wouldn't be as captivated by the plot however.
   Nelson has obviously done a lot of research and the photographs in the back are a great addition to the story.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Commonwealth Shorts

There is a great creative venture going on right now in the Pacific where a group of Islander film-makers,writers and directors are working on some short films along the theme of relationships. The scheme is called Commonwealth Shorts and it is a partnership between Commonwealth Writers, B3 Media and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association/Worldview. The five short films, one documentary and four dramas, will be premiered in Auckland New Zealand on February the 26th.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J.Maarten Troost

Swampy land near the airport.
B. Montgomery, 1992
In 1992 I visited Kiribati for a week and stayed at the only decent hotel on Tarawa. I was amazed at how thin the atoll was. In some places it seemed only 50 metres from one side of the island, the lagoon, to the other side, the ocean. The whole place was awash with water and swampy areas made agriculture impossible. (I imagine with climate change things will only get worse.) The shops had even less variety than those in Nauru and there wasn't much to do except sit in the shade and try to cool down.
The Sex Lives of Cannibals
(Broadway Books, 2004)
   The Sex Lives Of Cannibals is a travel book which goes into far more detail of life on Tarawa. The author, J. Maarten Troost, spent two years in Kiribati and writes a refreshingly funny account of his experiences there. His frustrations with obtaining fresh water and something interesting to eat are familiar ones to expats in the central Pacific. Troost's quirky voice and sometimes contrary nature make some of his anecdotes hilarious. His way of solving the neighbourhood's noise pollution (ie: loud irritating music) is one that had me chuckling.
   There is a fair amount of swearing, so if you can't stomach profanities you may have to give it a miss. But I highly recommend this to expats throughout the Pacific and other island nations. So much of the content will make you nod and say 'That's right..., island time.'