by David McRobbie
Allen and Unwin. Australian, Children’s Fiction. Paperback RRP $15.99
Guest Reviewer - Anastasia Gonis
phaned at 11 years old, he was allocated by welfare to a sterile and emotionless home environment. Vinnie secretly worked at the local pub. Befriended by the pub owners and Isaac, a Jewish refugee, he got a taste of the laughter and warmth that had been missing from his life. He learnt about music and it became an integral part of his life. But those temporary joys ended with his evacuation.
Vinnie, siblings Kathleen and Joey, and Dobbs, all travel, arrive and stay close at Netterfold where they are billeted out to families. Vinnie goes to the ageing but aristocratic Miss Armstrong who initially remains unseen. But he is content to be enveloped in the kindness and caring of the housekeeper.
Vinnie is always warring with someone or something in his search for a place to belong. In Netterfold he finds himself in a more confronting war than the one he’d escaped. This war is declared by the town’s children who see the evacuees as usurpers to their established way of life. They bully and ridicule the newcomers who also have to cope with separation from family, home, and everything dear and familiar.