I was first exposed to this book in highschool English class, when I was still at a pretty low level of English, and had no clue there were even Indigenous people in Australia. I did not even really understand the concept of a rabbit proof fence, it always seemed so wild to me it had to be fictional. We read extracts (I understood maybe a word in ten), watched a scene or two of the movie, and bits of a documentary about Indigenous Australians and the tough conditions they had to live in due to systemic racism. I
It stayed with me, but how hard it had been to read compared to other book extracts we read that year, also stuck with me, so I never really looked into it more. I assumed it was beyond my level, written to be very obscure, as some nonfiction books can be.
Fast forward to this year, I’ve been living in Ireland for about 4 years and I don’t remember how it came to mind but I decided I had to read it again and see if I still found it hard.
I got it from the library and, my friends, it is so short? About 150 pages. And yet it’s one of the most impactful books I read this year.
I wanted to talk about this book, but at the same time I don’t want to do a straightforward review. I’m a white woman, living in Europe, and approaching this topic from a willing-to-learn perspective* but this is not my lived experience at all and I don’t want to be over here trying to pass a judgement on what I’ve read. Instead, let me just tell you about it (or tell you about the topic through this book).
What is Follow the Rabbit Proof Fence?
tw: colonialism, racism, prison, kidnapping, child abuse, mentions of rapeContinue reading…