The Rabbit Proof Fence was recommended to me as my choice for Australia, by an Australian. Based on my limited knowledge of the subject, I eagerly accepted the recommendation & ordered the book from Amazon.co.uk. A couple of days later the book arrived & I have to say, I was shocked at how thin the book was. This is such an emotive subject & I didn’t really understand how such a short book could do the subject any justice.
The Rabbit Proof Fence (or Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence as it was called before Hollywood decided to make a movie about it & the title got changed to match the movie – I hate when they do that!) is the story of 3 children, ranging in age from 8 to 15, who escaped from the Moore River Native Settlement and spend almost 9 weeks trekking through Western Australia, along the rabbit proof fence, in an attempt to return to their families in Jigalong.
The white Australian government, in acts of parliament, created a policy whereby “Half-caste” (Aboriginal children with white fathers) children were ripped from their families, often at a very young age, and were taken to live in settlements under the auspice that it was for their good, as being the offspring of white men they were considered smarter than full blood Aboriginal children & therefore should be given a proper education & set on the path of becoming domestic servants to white station managers/families.
I have yet to see the movie (I do intend to, even though I very often avoid movies that have been adapted from books), but I do hope that it is better than the book. I have spent quite a few hours reading reviews of the book (and movie) to see if anyone else feels/felt the way I do about the book. I am sure that this could have been an amazing story of resilience, perseverance & triumph – but I came away from this book with a distinct feeling of disappointment. The Rabbit Proof Fence barely scratches the surface of what these girls achieved & skims over just about everything that was of interest within the story. I don’t feel as though I learned anything by reading The Rabbit Proof Fence, other than the fact that 3 girls spent 2 days at the Moore River Native Settlement, escaped & walked for almost 9 weeks through the Australian bush, surviving on handouts from people they met along they way.
There, I’ve just saved you from needing to read The Rabbit Proof Fence………..