Review: Rosanne Hawke – The Truth About Peacock Blue

The Truth about Peacock Blue
Rosanne Hawke

Aster’s brother dies from asthma, and suddenly she is to become the scholar in the family. As a Christian family in a Muslim-majority Pakistan, going to school holds more perils than she expects. Cast into prison for a crime she didn’t commit, this is a novel told through her perspective and the blog of her Australian cousin.

26510513This novel is an expose of what can go wrong in a country mad about laws, and belittling women. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, you just need to be a woman. Women might be the majority, but they certainly have the quietest voices.

Something I liked about this novel was the way that it didn’t cringe from the realities in prison life. Just because people are thrown into jail together doesn’t mean that they are all equal or able to care for themselves. I don’t know about the legitimacy of this part of the novel, but I can hope it was well-researched.

I was not satisfied by the end of the story. I know this is based on a true story, but for something to make an impact as a novel for me, then I want a bit more of an ending. I found myself wondering after I’d finished reading it, whether I had actually finished it.

I found the letter/blog parts and the comments to be relatively boring, and the least attractive part of the novel. Blogging is certainly a good way of getting messages across, but as its noted in the novel, it doesn’t mean that you are going to be listened to, or safe from idiots.

I think this book covers a good range of topics that would be important in middle-eastern society, regardless of whether the players are Muslim, Christian or Hindi. It shows the mindlessness of the masses, and the ingrained way of doing things for years and years. For that reason, I think this novel could overtake The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif as a potent VCE teaching tool.


Thanks to the folks at Allen and Unwin for providing me with this review copy.

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