I am not the target audience for this memoir and as a millennial pākehā woman it’s not really my place to make any judgements. This is an abridged version of Stan Walker’s popular memoir for adults. Abridged doesn’t meant they have removed all the gritty content in this case. I was impressed with the gentle but concise way the authors covered rough aspects of Walker’s life- his violent father, beatings, stealing, sexual abuse, poverty, mental health, suicidal thoughts and the relentless struggle of being tangata whenua living on land that was stolen. The memoir covers Stan’s childhood, his moving between Aotearoa and Australia, his multiple issues with his family, becoming Christian and his rise to fame because of Australian Idol followed by surgery for genetically inherited stomach cancer. I found the recounting of his troubled childhood very moving and heartbreaking and his political awakening really engaging, I didn’t enjoy his passages about faith. I think this would be a great book for some young readers in Aotearoa, I don’t know which age I’d recommend it for because it’s not so much about age as maturity. It would be pretty heavy going for some more sheltered kids but is that a bad thing?
Title: Impossible (Young Reader’s Edition)
Author: Stan Walker (with MargieThomson)
Publication: Early 2022
Ages: 10+/ unsure
Themes: Inspiration, resilience, creativity, forgiveness
Any advisory warnings? The young readers edition does carefully avoid glorifying or dwelling on upsetting content but it still contains- violence, abuse, suicidal thoughts, sexual abuse.
Would this book work as a read aloud? no
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? Tauranga
Reviewer: Lucy Black, Librarian, Mt Cook School Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: I am eight years old, all skinny and wild, dressed in yesterday’s clothes.