The Truth about Peacock Blue is written in the first person with the voice of Aster, who is thirteen at the start of the novel. Her fifteen year-old brother dies suddenly and her parents decide that she should receive the education her brother would have, rather than an arranged marriage that would have happened if he had survived.
While this is a great opportunity for a girl living in Pakistani, living in a small rural village the only school is Muslim, as the majority of the population in this country are, and she and her family are Christian. They are assured that this will not be an issue, but she soon finds that it is for some. She is not treated differently by most of her teachers, but one singles her out, and then accuses her of blasphemy, a charge that is subject to the death penalty in Pakistan.
Aster’s fight for justice in a country where the judicial system is slow, corrupt and particularly harsh on girls and women is portrayed with insight. Her cousin who lives in Australia writes a blog, with all of the freedom of speech that is available here. This does lead to varying opinions on the matter, which make for thought provoking discussions. A great choice for schools and young adults.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin (See Teacher’s notes and reviews)
Rosanne Hawke –