Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Whale Rider

Ihimaera, W. (2005). The Whale Rider. New Zealand: Bolinda Publishing.
YA Lit / Fantasy

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads.

I listened to this audiobook on a recent road trip and was immediately swept up in the beautiful and engaging story.  The narrator was perfectly suited with a voice that absolutely connected me to the events. The ONLY negative comment I can make is that in listening, I had a hard time with the tribal names of people and places.  As such, I cannot tell you the names of the main characters, their tribal name, their ancestors names, or even the main town central to the story.

It doesn't matter. The story is sweeping and wonderful, with rich, deep characters with whom the reader becomes acquainted.  The writing is so good that it is painful . . . painful to be a fly on the wall and not able to shake the grandfather by the shoulders. Painful to be the little girl who aches for his love. Painful to be the whale, yearning for its connection to the ancients.  

But the story isn't all about pain. It's about respect, patience, love, compassion, family, and relationships between man and nature and the past and the present.

The  story reminds us that anyone can be a leader and that narrow thinking can have dire consequences.  It is a genuinely moving story that will stay with me a long time. 

This is gets a Super Clean rating on my clean-o-meter.  There is no obscene language, drug use or references, sexual depictions or sexual references; however, there is a fairly graphic depiction of what happens when a large group of whales beaches itself and the humans behave badly, like some humans do.

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