I regretfully admit I read 162 pages of The Paperbark Shoe by Goldie Goldbloom before throwing in the towel. Initially, I was visually seduced by the interesting book jacket and the fact that this book won the 2008 AWF Award. Perhaps if I’d lived in the Australian outback all of my life, I would have been able to understand the verbiage in the book. It was such a struggle for me to read; the foreign words were way out of my league, and there were so many! Usually, I can skip over colloquial words and still get the gist of the story, but this did not happen for me with this book. In addition to the multitude of baffling words, the story itself turned my stomach. The further I got into the book, the darker and more depressing the story became. I finally closed the cover and said “No more”.
The story is ambitious and I congratulate the author of 8 children for having found the time to write and research it. I did like the historic aspect of the book. I was unaware that Italian POW’s were sent to Australia to work during WWII. That fact was of interest to me.
Overall, the book was not worth the effort it took to read or comprehend. My friend Margie put it best, “I give things a fair try, but would I eat the entire bowl of beet borscht if I didn’t like it?”