Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson

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Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson

Category: Travel
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Elaine Dingsdale
Reviewed by Elaine Dingsdale
Summary: A combination of a memoir on a personal, familial level, and some thoughts on the cultural history of the Maoris. Beautifully written, and researched, this would appeal to anyone who has an interest in the history of New Zealand - or indeed as background reading prior to a spending a holiday there.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: August 2008
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747582526

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Subtitled an unlikely love story, this was an interesting and inspiring memoir written by an American academic, who met and fell in love with a Maori - and what a beautiful tale it tells! Referred to as a 'contact' encounter (i.e., chance meeting) it sounds almost like a fairy tale, and in part it is - but a fairy tale which includes huge amount of hard work too.

Thompson uses this personal contact to illustrate the wider picture of the meeting of cultures and people, and this works very well. Interspersed between her personal story we have many examples of historical events - for example, the arrival of Cook in New Zealand (from whence the book's title springs, being the alleged threat/promise/display of strength demonstrated by the Maoris on seeing Cook's ships appear)). She deals at length with cultural stereotyping, and does this with panache and humour, and I very much enjoyed the way in which she examined long held myths, and gently refuted them:

I wanted to address the European representation of Maoris as belligerent people - the idea, as Charles Darwin put it, that the Maoris were quite possibly the most warlike people on earth. I thought it important to figure out what this meant and to look at the consequences this might have had on the Maoris over time.

On a personal level the book is even more engrossing. We see and learn much about Seven's family, and what a close-knit and inspiring group they are. Arriving in their midst, Christina, trying to help, quickly realises that even the youngest child is more adept at the day to day tasks than she is! They welcome her with open arms and warm hearts, and she is quickly accepted into their midst. Seven and Christina move regularly as necessitated by her academic placements, and we follow their travels with more than a small degree of amazement - particularly at Seven's wonderful adaptability (at one stage, he secured a job as a door-to-door salesman!)

I thoroughly enjoyed both perspectives of this book, but the personal story was perhaps my favourite. The author has written a beautifully elegiac memoir not just to the Maoris, but to the delightful Seven, and their three boys - she’s done you and your family proud Seven!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

For another book which is part memoir and part travelogue we think that you might enjoy Falling Palace by Dan Hofstader.

Buy Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All by Christina Thompson at Amazon.com.


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