Friday, June 24, 2011

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

I've been a bit quiet on the blog this week.  It was the first week of Summer Reading Club here at the library.  There were 400 sign-ups the first day! Can you believe it?  As you can imagine, the staff just goes home at night and falls into bed. Myself included, even though I'm not in the Children's Department any more.  The whole library has been buzzing which makes me happy. And worn out.

Photo Credit - Elle on Goodreads
I did finish a great book this week, Stolen by Lucy Christopher.  This was written as part of the author's doctoral dissertation about how Australian literature represents wild places.

Gemma is abducted from an airport and taken to a remote desert in Australia by her captor.  And I am not kidding when I say remote. No people. No structures. Limited water. Lots of spinifex and red sand that turns to clay when the random flash flood hits. A few feral camels. A huge sky with a blistering sun. And snakes. That's it. Well, except for Ty. Her captor.

Over the course of a month, Gemma begins to bond with Ty. She discovers his horrible upbringing.  Sees the way he "rescues" a feral camel and tames it (hmm. . .could this be a parallel for her situation?). Admires his piercing blue eyes and muscular frame.  Wait no. We're not identifying with this monster are we? Are we?

Hmm. What is the answer here?
The author does some wacky things in the way she depicts Stockholm Syndrome and by the end of the novel, we as readers are not sure what we want to happen.  Ty is definitely broken, but he can be fixed with Gemma's love, right?  Wait. He stole her. We don't want that to happen. She deserves to go home to London where she belongs. What is the answer here? I love how the author blurs lines between good/evil and wilderness/civilization. She sets up the traditional dichotomies and then smashes them to pieces.

I remember my "Bible as Literature" professor in college telling us that the desert or wilderness  is a place of solitude, catharsis and transformation (the Israelites wandering in the desert for forty years, Jesus fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert) and while this is no way a religious book, you can definitely see the transformative themes taking place in the Australian outback.  The wilderness changes you, changes your perspective on the world.  There's no going back to who you were.

Overall, great story.  In addition to an exciting plot and great character development, there are stunning descriptions of the Australian desert.

For an interesting interview with Lucy Christopher click here.

<I checked this book out of my library.>


  1. Wow, 400 reading signups the first day; that's amazing and so encouraging! Take that all those who say the art of reading is dying :)

    Stolen sounds like an interesting read. I have not read much set in the Australian outback...I want to check this one out, thanks!

  2. We were excited! I think it broke a record. The 400 included both libraries in our system, but it's not that big of a town, so that's a nice chunk of our residents.

    Stolen is a fast read and you really do get a taste of the Australian wilderness. I had fun looking at Google images afterwards and her descriptions are very apt. The pictures in my head matched the photos.