Hi folks! It’s been a while butI’m happy to be back on the blog for the AusYABloggers Blog Tour of This One is Ours by Kate O’Donnell. The link will take you to the tour schedule so you can see what others have had to say about this book.
This time it really feels like the world is ending on a grand scale. And look, I know it’s happened before too. They even called World War One the “war to end all wars”, but really they were just warming up. Versions of this particular war have been going on the entire time I have been alive.
But here we are now. The sea levels are rising, the ice caps are melting. Bushfire. Flood. Refugees escaping persecution, escaping famine, misery. We’re smack bang in the middle of something that feels like the end of the world. It’s a lot. And now my eyes can’t unsee it.From This One is Ours
Sofie is a dreamy teenager with her head in the clouds. She loves art, and spends her time looking for “tiny beautifuls” – a crack in the pavement or the perfect gumnut – to recreate in her sketchbook.
When Sofie goes on exchange to Paris, she is initially overwhelmed by having to constantly deal with a language she hasn’t grown up speaking. But she learns to love the city, the people, and her new found freedom.
When Sofie gets closer to her host sister Delphine, she is introduced to a side of the city that she hasn’t seen with her art school friends – the homeless, refugees and poverty in this beautiful city. Then when her family is impacted by bushfire, and the Notre Dame Cathedral burns, Sofie realises the difference in people’s response to the two is incredibly disproportionate. She knows this is what her friend Crow has been talking about all along, and she also knows that she has to act.
I really enjoyed This One is Ours and Sofie’s journey from dreamy artist to activist. O’Donnell addresses just how overwhelming it feels to be just one person amidst the mess the world is currently in, and how it feels like nothing you can do will make a change.
France, with it’s history of activism, especially of the lower classes, is the perfect setting for this book. There is a lot of discussion of the art and events of May 68 (which I had no idea about until reading this) which started with student protests and forced France to make huge changes.
The side characters were such a strong force of change for Sofie – Delphine and Crow, and Sophie’s sister Hanna all influenced Sofie’s change of attitude by their own actions and helped her to see that there were things that she could contribute to help make change.
This is such an important message. There is so much going on at the moment, especially with the global pandemic coming off the back of the worst bushfire season in Australia’s recorded history, and current events in the US (where California has been burning along with the political situation).
Pick this book up! It’s time.