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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Mia: Through my Eyes by Dianne Wolfer

Mia: Through my Eyes is part of a wider series (edited by Lyn White) that focuses on individual young people throughout fairly catastrophic events that have happened in Australia’s recent history. It covers natural events such as fire, flood and storm to really hone the knowledge base of young Australians (and young people more generally) as they encounter increasing threat from these events.

In Mia: Through My Eyes, the main character, Mia, is thirteen and lives in a remote part of Pilbara which is in Western Australia. It’s a pretty thinly populated area with a significant number of Aboriginal peoples who still find their land protected. In addition, it has that ubiquitous red earth, stocked full of minerals and a raft of metals that are sought after by the mining companies. It is an ancient place, full of history and cultural relevance.

And so, it is here that MIa’s mother works as a vet, specialising in horses - a vital part of the outback culture. While storms are not uncommon in the region, it is the ferocity of Cyclone Veronica that really becomes the centre of the story of the book. The only issue is that her mother has been called away to help a horse in a neighbouring property meaning that Mia is all alone as the storm edges closer and closer to the home.

Diane Wolfer uses brilliant imagery to put the reader into the storm itself, creating the feeling of isolation and claustrophobia created in the midst of this raging storm outside. It is as if the flying debris, the howl of the wind and the feel of the rain is all in the words on the page. Some parts, as a result, were a little on the intense side and perhaps those readers who may be a little sensitive to such things, or on the younger side, should be mindful of this aspect.

As it progressed, it was easy to consider how this may be a taught book in schools - particularly in collaboration with a theme of survival or the strength of nature and survival skills. It is something that will certainly provide plenty of discussion about these, and other events in the text.

It is also a story of friendship, and those close bonds that happen during the formative years of adolescence. There are times when Mia must think more about herself and how relationships are impacting her, rather than making herself available to her friends who seem to be drifting away.

Despite knowing that the storm was going to hit, and knowing that there would be some kind of positive resolution, there are moments when everything is hanging by a wire - sometimes literally. It is a wonderfully rich description of life in these remote areas and under the threat of some pretty fierce environments that are harsh and unwieldy.

Overall, a wonderful and fast paced story that will be loved by those with a more action and adventure slant to their reading loves.

Reviewer: Chris Reed

Allen & Unwin


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