Okay. How do I start this. Uhm. I got this book from my English teacher, he was like "Hey, I have a feeling you'd like this, why don't you take it home over the summer?" And I was like well okay why not.
Maybe the brief summary my teacher gave me will help you understand my feelings about this book a little better. You must know that my English teacher is all kinds of crazy (in a lovely way) and he's just... well, a little off. No offense. Now he said: "It's about a crazy woman. She builds her own house and then meets a handicapped child which experiences child abuse. If you think the book is confusing - good.".
If you know my teacher, you would think twice before reading something he describes as 'confusing'.
To set the record straight - I ended up loving the book. Like... ah, it was amazing, truly amazing. But let me explain.
You read the first say 10 pages and you're like What in the almighty hell is going on?! Seriously, it's bad. But it's amazing. When you think about it after reading the book. The first few pages of the book are written in an incredibly poetic and beautiful manner which just so happens to be confusing as hell as it just throws you right into some kind of plot - although at the same time, it's not really 'plot' yet. Do not be intimidated by that part! Or maybe, be intimidated. When I returned the book to my teacher yesterday and told him how much I loved it, he said to me: "Listen, you might not want to study language or English literature, but if you liked this book, they're totally missing out on you. Most people would pick it up and throw it across the room after 10 minutes."
But I did keep reading, and it was totally worth it.
The book is written through the perspective of the unreliable narrator - a kinda crazy woman, as stated above. Her name's Kerewin Holmes and she has been living away from her family for over 20 and away from the rest of civilisation for 6 years as the book starts.
This definitely shows through in her thoughts, but it's incredibly entertaining.
Kerewin (her name sounds almost exactly like the author's, huh?) soon meets Simon, the 'handicapped boy who experiences child abuse'. This brings me to my most favourite aspect of the entire book. Simon. Approximately 6 years old (no one really knows for sure) and pretty much the most adorable, lovely, wonderful and deep character I have ever come across. I loved Simon right from the start and still now, roughly a week after finishing the book, I stop every now and then and I just think "Simon D: ♥"
After reading the book, I read a few reviews on Amazon and something a person said really stood out to me. They wrote something along the lines of 'good concept, but what I was missing was a depth of character'. I seriously laughed out loud.
If there is one thing, that is not missing in this book, it's character depth and development. All the characters are well designed and absolutely 'deep'. Kerewin, who hasn't experienced social contact in over 6 years and who is struggling with the loss of contact to her family, Simon, of course, who is torn between loving and hating those who hurt him and then Joe, a loving and caring father when he's sober, but cruel when drinking brings up all of the emotions he's supressing.
I must admit that the book can be fairly slow-paced, I found myself having quite a hard time getting through some passages but that doesn't change the fact that 'The Bone People' is an incredibly well-written, heart wrenchingly beautiful story about love (not necessarily romantic love) and the conflict between European and Maori culture.
This is another aspect I'd like to breifly talk about. The novel deals with a lot of references to Maori culture and languages and offers an appendix including the translation of several important Maori words and phrases used in the book. I loved getting an impression of this very special culture and the nvel definitely inspired me to do more research on that in the future.
I would recommend 'The Bone People' by Keri Hulme to everyone, who is willing to give it a try. You should be aware of the fact that you'll be 'WTF'-ing a lot of the time and that the book deals with harsh language, child abuse and heavy drinking. You're fine with all of this? What are you waiting for?! Buy this book. Now!