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Message from Forever: A Novel of Aboriginal Wisdom Hardcover – June 3, 1998
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
A warmed-over account of an Australian woman's walkabout in search of her aboriginal heritage and the meaning of existence, this latest offering from the author of the bestselling Mutant Message Down Under is more of the same: rage over the aborigines' disenfranchisement, touchy-feely eulogies for their nomadic wisdom and dire predictions of an ecological doomsday for the civilization that did them in. When Beatrice Lake is separated the day after her birth from her teenage aborigine mother and twin brother, she begins a lifelong journey that will take her back to her ancestry and ultimately reunite her with her twin, Geoff, who is serving a life sentence in a Florida prison. After 36 years in the wilderness, Bea decides to return to civilization and repatriate Geoff. Overflowing with intimations of "Oneness," "Foreverness," "Knowingness" and such icons as the Rainbow Snake from the mythic Dreamtime, this humdrum little walk on the wild side is unworthy of Morgan's real-life concerns with the plight of the aborigines and the environment.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Based on aboriginal beliefs, a yea-saying wisdom book by the author of the originally self-published Mutant Message Down Under, which, by 1994, had sold 370,000 copies in Australia alone. In the 1930s, an aboriginal pair of twins is born in the Australian outback. Neighboring whites, English-born and established in a mission settlement, are bent on improving the lives of native dwellers: For forty years, the church had been building mission stations to house adult indigenous people extracted from the wilderness to civilize, educate, and save their souls. As ruthless as they are righteous, the white folk forcibly remove the infant twins from their native mother. For the boy, named Geoff, this means that at the age of seventy-two hours, the twin had severed all connection to his blood heritage. . . and would now become the ward of a wealthy, white rural family. Meanwhile, his sister Beatrice struggles to make do in a ghastly Catholic orphanage. Shes denied an education, shes molested by a priest, and shes compelled to have a hysterectomy at age nine before graduating to a slave-labor job in a boardinghouse. By his mid-20s, the boy--now an alcoholic--has received a life sentence without parole, having been falsely accused of a double murder. The story is then given back to Beatrice. Dropping everything and hungry to understand her origins, she heads for the outback, where she ends up living with the Karoon (first, original, unchanged) tribe of Real People for 30 years. Coming from a Christian civilization, she fears that her forebears, whom shes disposed to like, will disappoint her as models of human life. Instead, she enters their Dreamtime, becomes spiritually politicized to the Forever, and eventually reenters the outside world to work for the return of aborigines being held in foreign prisons. Morgans unflamboyant, matter-of-fact prose tends to keep euphoric philosophizing in check. Overall, her version of aboriginal life sounds much less presumptuous than New Ageism, and far more attractive. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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The struggles of the two children are portrayed with clear, lucid prose in the first half of the book, a tale of great sadness and pain. In the second half, Beatrice, the girl, runs off in search of her ancestral roots, and finds The Real People, a handful of aboriginies who still live in the bush and are trying to maintain the old ways. Unfortunately this part of the book is not believable. The characters are one-dimensional, too, too good; and their coversation consists of long speeches full of new age jargon. The language they use is totally out of character with the simple people they are supposed to be. The author describes a utopian society of people with great wisdom and psychic powers, set against the cruel, intolerant and bigoted white society.
At the conclusion of the book, brother and sister are reunited, at least make contact, and she leaves him with a document that tries to summarize all the wisdom she has learned from the Real People.
In fact, some of it is good. The author has some wisdom to share and it is indeed uplifting. But it is not written in a believable and coherent way. Does any of this really come from Australian aboriginal culture? Or is this Celestine Prophecy Down Under? Hard to say. The presentation is just too one-sided, too slanted, to be really convincing.
It's not badly written and I haven't read her other book, so I can't compare them, but the whole second part of the book also struck me (like some other reviewers) as a new-age message... Which is something I can only digest in really small portions, so I fully admit that I skipped pieces of the second part !
Another thing that bothered me about the book, was the fact that I was not emotionally involved with the characters. There were little bits of stories, but no real connection between them, or at least it didn't feel that way to me. Beatrices youth was written so detached ! I've read children's book about orphanages that gave me a lot more emotion. The whole puppy story was sad, of course, but for me there was no emotion in the writing...
Marlo Morgan accuses the Europeans of preaching, but she does the same thing. Of course they did a lot of damage to the Aboriginals when the came to Australia, I'm not denying that, but using that to sell books and make money (after the aboriginals protested against her book, she publicly admitted that her first book was fiction and a fabrication) it feels to me she is doing a lot of damage to the aboriginals herself !
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I begin writing this review in the moment of having finished reading, "Message From Forever" by Marlo Morgan.Read more