I am delighted to be sharing my review for Fishing For Maui by Isa Pearl Ritchie as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks for the invite and for my e-copy of the book.
A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.
Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?
“An accomplished story of a family in crisis – Ritchie’s great skill is her ability to conjure the inner lives if her characters. Fishing For Maui is a compassionate meditation on what it means to be well”. – Sarah Jane Barnett
The synopsis for this book gives a nice glimpse into this book and its characters, a story of a family living in New Zealand.
Each family member tells their own story and it’s through their words I was able to get a picture of the relationships and emotions between one another and their individual strengths and weaknesses within this family unit.
Each member of the family is very different in what they feel is a priority. For one of the family members, his Maori heritage and ancestry is of utmost importance and here the author did a wonderful job of introducing and explaining the Maori beliefs and traditions. For another family member processed food in any form and eating healthy and clean food is important. Gradually I discovered many things that made this family unique and interesting. With all these differing opinions there is a mix of information given to the reader, and here the author has successfully achieved this passing of information without it being too confusing.
There are several subjects that are involved in the story and they have been woven in a rather quiet and yet dramatic way. What I mean is that this is a story about family, everyday people doing everyday things, with the usual familial drama that is associated with it. There are also several moralistic as well as ethical dilemmas that came out, and the author has found the balance that I didn’t feel I was being preached at, using the characters within the story to tackle, discuss and argue various points gave me a chance to see differing opinions.
As I read, I realised this story was a story of demands that we put on ourselves, that society puts on and that is expected by family. These demands can cause rifts and stress within relationships and the strain of an event causes the family to stop and look at what they have. A gentle story of family, relationships, growing up and self to discovery. One I would recommend.
About the Author:
Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.
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