In the course of the journey and the funeral, the young hero experiences a rite of passage, learning about himself with the help of the mysterious "Binna Binna Man" , who was initially presented as a sinister spirit figure and turns out to be nothing of the kind. Another cousin is also saved, physically and spiritually.
It's amazing how much the authors have crammed into a text that can't be more than a few thousand words long. The seriousness of the underlying message doesn't prevent plenty of humorous moments, such as the description of the family car, Shelley Babe, a lime-green Kingswood rescued from the scrap heap and only a bit rusty, and a practical joke by an uncle at McDonald's. The language is beautiful, the tone sorrowful, but not accusing. There is a great dignity about it.
Young readers might need a little background about the problems Aboriginal Australians are facing, if the book is discussed in class, but the general youth problems also discussed in the novel should ensure there will be some empathy by readers for the characters.
Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia copyright © Festivale 2001 All rights reserved
Filed: 13-Apr-2000 Last updated: Last tested: Aug-1999
Last Compiled: 17-Dec-2015