Of Ashes and Rivers that Run to the Sea, written by Marie Munkara, is an amazing memoir of a woman’s journey back to her roots. Marie was raised in an adopted home, without much love and with a whole lot of abuse occuring. When she discovers where she is from, she goes back to find her birth family.
Marie Munkara is so honest in her account of her adopted life and the shock of finding her birth family, who live on an island on a Tiwi community. The style of writing is very raw and open – shock at her origins compared to her Catholic white upbringing, her struggles with adapting to her birth family’s way of life and the surprise that people live in Australia in such poor conditions.
She comes across at times as quite ‘snobby’ towards her biological family and their way of life – openly discussing her tantrums and dummy spits when things aren’t how she is used to them on the community. This really struck home for me as to how differently cultures live, and how difficult it is to bridge across both cultures when you are literally from both of them. I can only imagine the desire to fit into both, but the difficulties in doing so, and wanting to make the best of both worlds.
This is a really interesting, open and honest book, and Marie Munkarra is so brave and kind to share this with us.