Welcome to another edition of Bookish Bloggers Unite, a tag put together by a group of friends who wanted to write about books together. This week we’re being hosted by Summer over at Paper Cathedrals, so make sure you check out her blog, and add your link there if you would like to join us
This week we’re talking about impactful books, books that make you think or feel differently, or see the world from a different point of view. As we’re coming to the end of Australian Black History Month, I’m going to talk about impactful books by Aboriginal authors.
Too Afraid to Cry is a memoir by poet Ali Cobby Eckermann. Cobby Eckermann was removed from her mother when a baby and was adopted by a white family along with a number of other Aboriginal children. She didn’t realised she was Aboriginal until later in her childhood when she was bullied for her appearance by students at her school. Abuse and trauma during hr childhood and teen years, followed by her own child being taken away, Cobby Eckermann tells of her journey through addiction and depression, her struggle to find where she belongs. She eventually finds both her birth mother and her son. This book shows the human face to the Stolen Generations and the cyclical trauma placed on Aboriginal people by the government’s terrible policies.
Taboo by Kim Scott has been nominated for the Miles Franklin this year. Based on actual events, Taboo follows Tilly as she finds her way back to her father’s land and people after being raised by her white mother. This happens at the same time as a proposed Peace Park/Plaque being discussed by her father’s family, victims of a local massacre. Taboo is another exploration of loss and trauma and how those things impact today’s Aboriginal people. (One of the white characters keeps saying “I don’t like the word ‘massacre'” in what appears to be an attempt to downplay the event, and it’s a completely infuriating, although accurate, portrayal of the way white Australia seems to want to wash it’s hands of what happened to the Aboriginal population.)
I spotted this article on Twitter yesterday which talks about 500 massacre sites being mapped across the country. You can see the map itself here. It’s a sickening reminder that the government’s plan for the Aboriginal people was for them to be exterminated completely.
I feel like I can’t talk about this book enough, especially to Australians. If you have had any level of education about the Aboriginal people, you would have been taught that prior to invasion, they were a nomadic people who didn’t have any agricultural structures . Dark Emu shows that the Aboriginal people used sowing, harvesting, irrigating and food storage techniques that don’t line up with the “hunter/gatherer” tag their society was usually described as. (And these techniques were deliberately downplayed/hidden by the whites to make Terra Nullius an option. Please read this book.
That’s it from me. What books have significantly impacted you?