Sunday 21 July 2019

Girl of the Southern Sea

Finished July 18
Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

This story is about Nia, a girl who lives in the slums of Jakarta, but hopes for a brighter future. Nia's mother died a few years ago, and her father has been drinking the money away since then, leaving Nia unable to afford to go on to high school as she can't afford the fees. Her mother died giving birth to her younger brother Rudi, and Nia has cared for him since then. Her father makes a living by selling banana fritters from a cart at the train station, but the situation now, with him drinking too much, and owing money to the local alcohol supplier can't continue. Nia is determined to find a way forward that will allow her to do as her teachers and principal urge her to and go to high school so she can become a writer.
Since she was small, Nia has been fascinated by the legend of Dewi Kadita, a Javanese princess who was cursed by her stepmother in jealousy, and found a new home as the Princess of the Southern Sea, Queen of the Southern Ocean. Nia makes up her own stories about Dewi Kadita, giving her a pet monkey and adding more adventures to her life. She tells the stories to Rudi and other local children, and writes them down.
Nia has a good friend her own age, and is friendly with many other locals, including the lady who runs the fruit cart next to her father's at the station. When Nia survives a terrible bus crash, she comes to the attention of others, not all of whom have her best interests at heart, and when she finds that her father has promised her in marriage without even consulting her, she takes things into her own hands.
I liked her strong character, and her unwavering ambition.
This book opens children's eyes to another culture, the more difficult choices and situations faced by children in other countries, and an interesting legend.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever read a book set in Jakarta. This one sounds good. :)