I was fortunate enough to attend the book launch of this book in Alice Springs. In terms of the growth of these characters and the conflict they face, it did feel a little weak at times. Though she hasn't consciously intended to remain in central Australia, when Alicia is offered a job setting up a school on an indigenous outstation she decides to stay. I am not a big romance reader, and in the early stages I did wonder if the personal relationship with Patrick was going to annoy me into putting the book aside, but I am glad I continued as the relationship just became interwoven into the pattern of the whole. But politics has been allowed to grind to a halt on this issue. I loved the word pictures describing the countryside.
Surrounded by the mesmerising beauty of the desert, Acacia takes charge of the new school. Not a literary fiction, in my opinion there is not enough character development to justify that, the closest genre I can think of is mainstream fiction. The teaching side of the novel is another aspect that I found deeply insightful, as a teacher myself I was interested in the differences in remote area teaching as opposed to city based teaching. I found myself skipping or skimming bits, which I say to me that it could have done with more severe editing. This year's event will be on November 11 at Country Club.
But after hearing the author read from two passages in the book, I was hooked. It made me think of a movie I have seen recently: Warwick Thornton's Samson and Delilah, where the story also takes place in small isolated Aboriginal community and in Alice Springs. She's feeling at a loss in her life in Sydney when news that her mother is critically ill takes her back to her childhood home of Alice Springs. She is persuaded by her best friend, Lekisha and her 'nana', Magdelene to take on the challenging position of the lone teacher at the newly approved school at the Promised Land Mission for its children. But politics has been allowed to grind to a halt on this issue.
From Alice With Love was an ambitious story that explores the challenges faced by Aboriginal communities and those who work in rural regions. From Alice with Love is a thought provoking, though skewed, perspective into the complex issues that trouble our country and defy simple resolution. I had already sternly told myself not to buy any more books. Some may question this book as having a strong political agenda, but I found nothing but appreciation, it is story that needs to be continually retold. The complexities of teaching in a small school in a small bush community rang true.
I thoroughly enjoyed From Alice With Love. Drawn back to Alice Springs when her mother falls ill, Alicia, who is in the midst of an amicable divorce and unemployed, allows herself to be reabsorbed into her childhood community, which includes the Indigenous mob who considers her family. While the descriptions of the unique Territory environment are evocative, I did find that the first person narrative, which is light on dialogue, sometimes took on the qualities of a lecture. She returns to her home town in Alice Springs to spend time with her ill mother and during her stay accepts a teaching role that involves the setup of the first school in an Indigenous outstation. A love story on the background of turbulent, difficult times. While caring for her mother, Alicia is also offered a position to help set up a local indigenous station school.
When her mother is ill, Alicia returns to Alice Springs where she grew up. An enjoyable read and a book that I learnt from. And to put a spice on it, I added a few explosion for the climax. There is that ring of authenticity in descriptions of the place and people. For the last 6 years, our family has shared the memory of , her battle with breast cancer, her love for family and the holidays through hosting a fun filled afternoon of bowling and other activities while raising awareness and funds for local breast health organizations.
The challenges are substantial and the work demanding - but it's also deeply satisfying and Acacia is the most fulfilled she's been in her adult life. I also hope that this book reaches both the national and international forum as it is so crucial that the voices of our indigenous people are heard. This novel tells the story of how The Intervention plays a role the lives of a few people, in a way that is most likely representative of a broader sample. I think it would be fair to say however that Alicia's journey is both inseparable from, and overshadowed by, Dutton's portrait of Indigenous issues and community in the Top End. However I don't want my opinion to discourage anyone from reading From Alice With Love as I believe this book has the potential to both inform and enlighten readers.
Despite the challenges of caring for her mother and setting up a school, Alicia finds a strong sense of gratification from her new job. It is an easy yet insightful read. Writer and artist Rod Moss is up for his novel One Thousand Cuts: life and art in Central Australia, Jo Dutton was shortlisted for From Alice With Love, and husband and wife team Chris and Natasha Raja are in the running for The First Garden. At the same time, there is always an unbreachable gap between the two cultures, and this is acknowledged. But then things get complicated. It is obvious from the outset that this author knows a lot about her location and the people there, so it is no surprise to find the author lives in Alice Springs.