02 March 2008

My Story: Land of Promise

The Diary of William Donahue, Gravesend to Wellington, 1839-40
ISBN 9781869438494
Scholastic 2008

Lorraine Orman has another My Story book out and it was a pleasure to read. This was not what I had expected. I've enjoyed much of Lorraine's writing, particularly Hideout (Longacre Press) which had a good story and lots of emotional drama, but the My Story series have never been my cup of tea. Perhaps it's my aversion to reading history (after living through many long months of my husband writing a history book I was well over that genre!) or that so many facts are incorporated into the books in this series that the story is sometimes lost along the way. I haven't read them all, so this should not be taken as a judgement call on all My Story books, just my personal feeling after a sampling.

So well done Lorraine, you drew me in and kept me going back for 'just one more chapter' until I'd consumed the whole thing and now know a whole lot more about early life in Wellington, what a shambles it was when the excited immigrants arrived, and - what I liked most - the story of what it was like travelling on a ship for weeks and weeks.

I only occasionally sighed at the facts included as an unlikely part of a young boy's knowledge, and relished the discovery of how the people who came here made their way through times of great difficulty - most admiring those who came from upper classes and got down to the work of building their new lives, leaving their rich ways behind them.

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