Review by Kathryn Price -- Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

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Kathryn Price
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Review by Kathryn Price -- Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane

Post by Kathryn Price » 15 May 2018, 23:06

[Following is a volunteer review of "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Ironbark Hill by Jennie Linnane is an inspiring coming-of-age story that will speak to anyone who has experienced real hardships in their lives, and builds empathy in those who have not. Covering several difficult topics including racial discrimination, abusive family situations, and alcoholism, which is pleasing to see in a work of fiction, it is an enjoyable, in-depth story that is sure to please.

Natalie Chapman, or Natty, is a sixteen-year-old girl living in Shannondale, Australia. She is part Aborigine and consequently faces constant bullying and discrimination because of her ancestry. One of the only people in the town who actually likes her is her employer, the enthusiastic Mrs. Glover, who encourages Natty in her aspirations to become a landscape painter. At home, Natty also battles her abusive, alcoholic father, Alex. Trying to come up with ways to escape his plots to get more money for alcohol and protect her mother and younger siblings from his drunken fits of temper, Natty must fight for her own . The story gives you a personal look at her feelings, motives, and aspirations during this period in her life as she makes life-changing decisions amidst such hardship, and drives home the moral that actions have consequences, especially the indescreet ones.

There was very little about this book that I did not like. What little I had trouble with was in the story only – Natty made several decisions that I did not feel were right or should have had stronger consequences fitting with the style of the story. This included a certain relationship Natty engaged in which is morally wrong but is not treated as a major issue and is not resolved. With regards to editing, I have no complaints – I only found one minor error.

There was much more about this book that I did like. One of the first things I noticed was that the writing was flowery and very descriptive, using words, adjectives especially, that are not commonly found in a lot of recent literature. Words that stood out to me as rare and unique to the author’s writing style included "concertinaed", "somnolent", and "secateurs". This personally delighted me and I did not feel that the language detracted from the story itself; rather, that it improved it even though I occasionally had to reach for a dictionary. The story contains elements that could have been gory or explicit if described by a different author, but Linnane handles these difficult parts with grace, revealing enough to inform the reader but not shock them. Finally, I liked the way the author handled the characters and made them distinct and different from each other, as well as how the book was balanced. Overall, it feels very self-contained and complete.

I rate Ironbark Hill 4 out of 4 stars for its excellent story, characters, and writing quality. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book in this genre, including parents looking for thought-provoking books to discuss with their tween or teen kids. I enjoyed reading it and I am willing to bet that most readers will enjoy it as well.

******
Ironbark Hill
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Post by gali » 29 Sep 2018, 09:29

A coming of age story revolving around the life of a sixteen-year-old girl who has to deal with bullying and discrimination sounds intriguing. Good writing, round characters, and sensitive handling of difficult parts are the mark of a good book. I do not care to read about abuse, but I am glad you enjoyed the book. Thank you for the review!
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by Ferdinand_otieno » 29 Sep 2018, 09:35

This is an amazing coming of age novel that deals with ra ial discrimination, abusive families and alcoholism. The book was an incredible read and i rated it 4 out of 4 stars. The onlinebookclub review of the book was written not only professionally, but also masterfully.

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Post by HailKingEbi » 29 Sep 2018, 09:39

the book sounds like it deserves the rating it got. And thanks for an interesting review
will probably find time to check it out. congratulations on BOTD.
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Post by HailKingEbi » 29 Sep 2018, 09:40

the book sounds like it deserves the rating it got. And thanks for an interesting review
will probably find time to check it out. congratulations on BOTD.
We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings - Doctor Manhattan.

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Post by joellas » 29 Sep 2018, 09:40

Set in the time of queen Elizabeth's ascension this coming of age story is about a 17 year old girl who has to face bullying protecting her family and also wants to avenge her father. Good plot and characters.

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Post by Misael » 29 Sep 2018, 09:41

It seems like a novel with a strong, relevant plot and very relatable due to the issues of bullying and discrimination. Happy reading to us!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Sep 2018, 09:52

This sounds like a well-written coming of age story that deals with racial discrimination and abuse. Great review!

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Post by lesler » 29 Sep 2018, 09:57

I read this book already, and adored it. The story set in rural Australia is superb, and will have you rooting for the main character and her family.

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Post by MsTri » 29 Sep 2018, 10:02

Thanks for the very thorough review, but I just don't care for coming-of-age stories, especially ones with themes of bullying and discrimination. I therefore will NOT be reading this book.

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Post by Kister Bless » 29 Sep 2018, 10:03

I read this book and it was just amazing. I would recommend it to readers who love coming of age novels. Great review!

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Post by khandzz09 » 29 Sep 2018, 10:07

This book can be read by anyone. This portrays some certain situations we can see in the society. I appreciate the use of words of the author. Congrats to the Book of the Day. Thank you for this review.
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Post by Laura Bach » 29 Sep 2018, 10:09

Natty is a great example of woman power. I am happy to see this book as BOTD. A coming-of-age story about a young girl of Aborigine root who lives with her alcoholic father.

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Post by sanykip » 29 Sep 2018, 10:14

This an awesome review. I love reading books with stories like this.

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Post by cristinaro » 29 Sep 2018, 10:16

I have read this book when it was BOTM and I loved its simplicity and the pervading sadness hidden in Natalie's struggle to survive the consequences of a traumatic childhood. Thanks for your review!
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