The White Girl

HarperAudio. Mar. 2022. 7:38 hrs. ISBN 9780063213562. $23.99. F
Until May 27, 1967, Indigenous Australians’ movements, education, and work were regulated, usually at the hands of local Australian police, who routinely removed children from their homes. In this story, set in the early 1960s, Odette Brown, an Indigenous person, is 63 years old. Her daughter disappeared 13 years earlier, and her baby daughter Sissy was left in Odette’s care. Odette and Sissy live happily until Odette finds that she requires surgery and several weeks of bed rest. There is no one else to care for Sissy, so Odette applies for a required travel permit, so she can try to find her daughter. On the train, Odette and Sissy meet Jack, an Indigenous man, who gives Odette his address in case she needs help. Odette fails to find her daughter. When she collapses and is taken to the hospital, Sissy finds Jack, who helps them. Birch (Blood) creates a moving tribute to the courage and determination of Indigenous Australians. Narrator Shareena Clanton conveys the calm determination of Odette, the naïveté of Sissy, and the struggle of Indigenous people to win their freedom.
VERDICT Listeners of historical fiction will enjoy this story.
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