Posted on Goodreads: The Italian Girl by Rebecca Huntley (2012)
The issues in this book – alien internment in Australia in WWII, family relationships, honesty in dealings with people – have a much greater relevance than the Ballini family of FNQ. Somehow, I am left with the impression that the book is almost exclusively about the author’s relationship with and discovery of the Ballinis. Perhaps it is the too-much detail in the description of the author’s day, lunch, drive or preparations that anchors the significance of the text to the text itself. Perhaps it is an effect of first person, present tense.
I really missed having some photos to look at. So often key conversations or insights revolve around photos that I wanted to see these people for myself. I understand that inserting photos into a text-based book is neither simple nor cheap, but … they would have been a fine addition, I think.
This would be an instructive text in the process of finding out, if you are wanting to research a migrant family, as the author values historical accuracy, and her methods and sources are transparent and comprehensive (to this novice eye). I picked the book up to look at the author’s technique because of the book I am currently writing. It affirms my approach – it will assist with my revision – because I want the universal to lift up out of the personal. Yes, I have used my own arc through the project as a spine for the book, but I really want to keep myself away to the side as much as possible. My story is not the focus.
Have a good day,