Tuesday 12 June 2012

The Ghost at the Point

The Ghost at the Point The Ghost at the Point by Charlotte Calder (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 9781921977732
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

It is the time of the Great Depression. Twelve year old Dorrie lives with her grandfather, Gah, who has left his solicitor’s practice and now fishes and supplies the inhabitants surrounding Ned’s Point with a food source. Gah’s sister, Dorrie’s late great aunt Gertrude, had related tales of a ghost roaming the cliffs above the point.

But someone or something is there on the point. When Gah falls off the ladder while clearing the spouting and is taken to hospital, Dorrie refuses to go to horrible Aunt Janet’s place in town. She remains determined to stay alone at home by any means possible. Aunt Janet owns dogs and would never allow Dorrie to bring her cat Poppy with her. Furthermore, her Aunt sees Dorrie not as the free spirit she is, but as bad mannered and uncultured wild thing.

Dorrie hides and evades, runs away and lies to stay at home. Her lone survival is aided by Jacky, an adult with a child’s mind, the result of a blow to the head at a young age. Jacky and his father are loners, but it was to them that Dorrie turned for help when Gah was injured.

Aunt Janet is not the only threat to the Dorrie’s independent life. Two strangers have appeared claiming a friendship to the late Gertrude. They have a treasure map, spades and sinister intentions, and are determined to dig up Dorrie’s house in their quest for world travel. Fighting off these threats is a challenge to Dorrie’s courageous and independent spirit.

A great adventure unfolds and the mystery of the ghost at the point is unravelled. Jacky also sees the shadowy figure and shares in the discovery which is accompanied by amazing revelations.

All the characters play a significant role within the book. They serve as a conduit to the lifestyle, lack, and strength needed to survive during those hard years of the Depression. The surroundings: waters, cliffs and Stringybarks, clearly bring to view the Australian landscape and the harsh but challenging environment.

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