A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.
Blurb: Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?
A gorgeous, eye-catching cover enfolds this is a gentle, lilting read. It’s completely different to anything I’ve read before and way, way, off the beaten track of my usual preferred genres. But I found it surprisingly comforting! I think that the Maori concept of ‘whanau’ was something that I found to be extremely soothing. It’s basically a sense of community and similar to the idea of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. In South Africa, I think it would be akin to the term ‘uBuntu’, which is an Nguni term often translated as ‘I am because we are’ or ‘humanity towards others’. Whanau reminded me a lot of uBuntu, and I found that heartwarming.
Each chapter is related by a different character, and in the beginning, I did find it all a bit confusing. But when I was able to finally link everyone together, and as the story comes together, then everything falls into place. I resonated particularly with Elena – I suppose because she’s a blogger like me – although I did feel she was a bit obsessed and that she treated her blog like it was her child!
This is a beautiful read. The author knows her subject matter, and certainly knows the areas and places she’s writing about – all completely new and foreign to me!
Here’s the author’s bio: Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child (a Maori term for New Zealanders of European descent) in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand). She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.
Social Media Links –
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/826608
4 stars for this very different, but utterly engaging and endearing book. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Reads for inviting me on the Tour. Today’s the first day of the Blog Tour, so you can follow along and see what others are saying here …