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Rabbit-Proof Fence Paperback – November 20, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax (November 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786887842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786887842
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Doris Pilkington is also the author of Caprice: A Stockman's Daughter. Rabbit-Proof Fence, her second book, is now a major motion picture from Miramax Films, directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Kenneth Branagh.

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Customer Reviews

This is one of the most moving books I have read.
Michelle
Yet on the other hand it expresses kindness, love, understanding and hope for the future.
Jeannie
I loved Molly, Gracie, and Daisy as if they were my kids.
Reni

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on January 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's an insult to Doris Pilkington and to the children's endeavour alike to race through this book. Still, circumstances dictated [the film was waiting] and the deed was done. Which merely led to a re-read. This real-life story of three young girls escaping from the looming slavery of a Christian mission to return home is another entry on the balance sheet of imperialism. With immense forces arrayed against them, the three evaded all pursuit, even expert Aborigine trackers, to cross half a continent to rejoin their families. The distance covered was likely the longest walk in Australian history.
The roots of this story lie in the opening chapters which recount the actions of European visitors and settlers against the indigenous Australian population. Women were raped, murdered or abandoned. Men were killed, imprisoned, led into slavery as they watched their traditional lands overrun by cattle, sheep or grain. The ease with which firearms overcame spears added to the European's attitude of "superiority". By the time of Molly Craig's capture, killing had been mostly abandoned in favour of "assimilation" - a mild word for indentured servitude. Molly, recognised the fallacy of being forced into an unwanted life. She took steps to avoid this fate - many steps, as it turned out. Enough to hide from pursuers, do some elusive backtracking and arrive at home. At least 1800 km of mostly barefoot walking.
There were adventures enough along the way, and some ironies. Although alerted to their escape, the wives of white selectors fed, clothed and sheltered them briefly. Then dobbed them in to the police after the trio had again gone bush. The girls lived on donated food, captured rabbits, birds' eggs or whatever else the bush provided. Each contributed as best they could.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are interested in what happens to native or aboriginal peoples when whites try to incorporate them into a white culturally based society, READ THIS BOOK! The book is 10x better than the movie...full of real details. Even though this story was told orally from a vantage point of 60+ years, it is backed up with articles, poice reports,etc. Very credible and tragic story.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Laksmi A. Nor on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Rabbit-Proof Fence is the story of 3 young part-Aboriginal girls in Australia, the oldest only fifteen years of age. Historically, "half-caste children", (half-Aboriginal and half-Caucasian) were considered wards of the Australian government and were, therefore, forcibly removed from their families and taken to settlment schools that were little more than jails. The purpose of these schools was to prepare these Aboriginal children for their role in white society as domestics and farmworkers. This book is a true story of 3 girls who escaped from the Moore River Settlement school. Their story is nothing less than amazing. The description of the "weevily porridge" that they were served for breakfast at the school, or the sheets that were only issued when the big inspectors were coming to visit and the other hardships they faced should sadden and anger every reader. Unfortunately, there are many similarities between their story and the treatment of Native Americans in this country. It is a must read!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Erin on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a great 300 page story packed into 100 pages. This is one of those stories that everyone should read, but sadly the delivery of the walk home is so straightforward. I wanted to know more about what the three girls went through, I wanted to really be able to see into them a little more. That said, western readers love characters. They do. It's a trait of being brought up on those books we all read in high school. This book does subvert expectations about character being central rather than journey or community. Indeed, journey and community are paramount to this story. But I still would have loved 200 more pages. So many places left me wanting for more landscape, more discussion of language, more description of the people. Just more. Read it, but know that there's a whole other story underneath this one as well.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on May 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
A different kind of coming-of-age story, set in Australia. And the kids are three aborininal girls (remember that at one time the Austrailans considered the aboriginal people to be animals, or at least sub-human) who trek across sere and wild landscapes to return to their home.
Then realize that this is a true story, told by the daughter of one of the three girls who, along with maybe thousands of other children, were separated from their families by government edict, forced to 'live as white.' It was a misguided effort at assimilation, masquerading as well-intentioned but in reality was a formal effort to erase an entire culture.
Rabbit-Proof Fence is an inspiring story of survival, defiance, resiliance, and ultimately of love.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first saw the Miramax movie starring Kenneth Branagh, which was based upon this book. I was intrigued enough by the film to read this book. I was not disappointed. This book is certainly a testament to the human spirit. It also reveals the harsh, paternalistic and racist policies that the Australian government imposed upon its Aboriginal population.

In 1931, the Australian government issued an edict that mandated that all Aboriginal and part Aboriginal children were to be forcibly removed from their homes and taken to special settlements where they were to be assimilated. There, while living in inhumane and degrading conditions, they would be taught to be culturally white, would be mandated to speak English only, and would be trained to be domestic help or laborers in white households.

The author tells the reader the story of three young girls, Mollie, Gracie, and Daisy, who had Aboriginal mothers and White fathers. Ranging in age from nine to fifteen years old, the three girls were forcibly removed from their loving families and taken to a special settlement. The girls rebelled against this system, and, homesick, escaped from such a settlement. They left with iterally just the clothes on their back. Their only guide home would be a rabbit-proof fence that stretched for over a thousand miles across Australia.

The girls Aboriginal heritage and survival skills would come in handy throughout their nearly nine week long trek across Australia, as they were forced to subsist on the land and the occasional kindness from strangers. They had to endure thirst, hunger, and danger, while avoiding being caught along the way by professional trackers, police on the lookout for them, and white settlers that were unsympathetic to their situation.
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