Friday, September 4, 2009

The book Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson promised (I thought) to explore the Maori people of New Zealand from their first contacts with Europeans to the present day. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had been more aware of what it's actually about. From the title and the artwork on the cover, I had expected the book to be about New Zealand, its history, and the Maori culture. There was some mention of these things, but mostly, it was about the author, her marriage, her career crises, her family history, etc. I also found the book to be somewhat repetitive, with the author constantly referring to the clash of differing cultures when the Maori and European explorers met for the first time.

I was extremely surprised to read in the first couple of chapters how the author met her future husband, who is a Maori. She was studying in Australia and went to New Zealand on a break. While killing time before her flight back to Australia, she wandered into a pub. She exchanged a few sentences with a stranger, missed her flight, and at the end of the evening took him up on his suggestion to "come with us." A few chapters later, she is bemoaning her husband's irresponsibility. Pot. Kettle. Black.

Then we are treated to chapter after chapter of the couple's moves back and forth across continents, her acceptance of short-term fellowship positions, money and lack of possession problems, moving in with family members, and so on. I really wanted to read more about New Zealand and less about the author's lack of direction in her personal life.

There are some interesting facts about the Maori and English descriptions of early encounters with them. The author does also mention the lingering effects of racism and colonization which continue to limit the Maoris in terms of opportunities for advancement. Overall, however, these observations were overshadowed by too much personal information.

Final Verdict for Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: Two Gherkins, for too little information about New Zealand and too much about the author's personal problems



Oh WOW, this is so clever - you have the most gorgeous site here and I had to stop by to leave this comment for you – and to say hello of course ! Your posts are creative and original and you have interesting pictures. It's all perfect ! Thank you for sharing your site and best wishes....

Lisanne624 said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Elise!

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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