Boori (Monty) Pryor | 204 pages | ISBN 0-14-027397-2
Pryor starts his book with a shocker: He lost a brother, sister and a nephew within 14 years of his life. And yet this is an important chapter because many Aboriginal people face a similar fate.
Pryor takes you on a journey through his life. The book’s written as if the two of you sit on a couch and he tells you what he’s experienced.
This is a strong side of the book: In telling you his life Pryor follows ancient traditional storytelling which is a backbone in indigenous culture. And he manages well to weave important facts and events into his account, for example about Aboriginal deaths in custody, missions, Aboriginal rights, the Stolen Generations or important decisions about land (Mabo).
His voice is always friendly, and many anecdotes about the children he performs dances for often point softly to deeper, sadder truths.
If there is a weak point of this book then it’s that he only briefly mentions the spiritual side of Aboriginal culture. Yet this rich and important part often is of special interest to white readers. I would have loved to read more through the eyes of Pryor, but maybe he purposely didn’t want to disclose too much.
If you want a book on the basics of Aboriginal culture, embedded in a well readable life story and topped with a few pictures of his relatives, then this is a book for you.
From the book:
White kid: “Can you make me an Aborigine?”
Pryor: “I can’t make you an Aborigine. But I think deep inside you’re asking questions and you’re listening and you’re learning. It’s sort of making you into an Aboriginal person in your heart. Because that’s what everybody has to do, is be open. Then the learning will come.”
Boori Pryor has also written a few children/teenager books together with Meme McDonald. ‘Boori’ means ‘fire’.