The day after being discharged from the Queensland police force with post-traumatic stress disorder, Veronica Gorrie sat down to write about her life. The blue of the title captures her ten years as one of the few Aboriginal police officers, while the black details her upbringing and the intergenerational trauma experienced by her family.
Eloquent, shocking, honest and brave, this important story gives voice to a survivor and lives up to its subtitle: A memoir of racism and resilience. [Larger font]
All agreed that 'Black and Blue' was not an 'easy' read, because of the 'no holds barred" descriptions of racism, violence and sexual assault. Despite this we were all pleased to have read it. There was no doubt that Veronica Gorrie is a resilient, brave, much to be admired woman and 'whistle blower'. The notes were useful and our discussion vibrant.
Most members really enjoyed this book, especially the second half.
Everybody agreed that Veronica Gorrie was a truly amazing and inspirational person whose background was horrendous, but she still came through everything.
We talked about this book for so long, so great discussion. We all agreed that we are very lucky to live in the times and where we do and most of us have no idea. It was very confronting and real but told her way because it was her story. Felt very sorry for her that her time in the police left her so shattered and disillusioned when she only wanted to try and make change. Is it any better now We thought she was very forgiving towards her mother. Although at times it was hard to read, we were all pleased that we had done so. A lot of talk about the generation of lost children..
Very confronting, not particularly well-written, but it did generate plenty of discussion.
Our group enjoyed the book in spite of the confronting content and had no problem with the style of writing. We felt that Veronica Gorrie was an amazing women; intelligent, resourceful, strong but also with a lot of empathy. We had excellent discussion, with more questions than answers. Some questions did seem to imply cultural bias. A former Australian nurse in the group added further insight to discussion.
A difficult read. So confronting, shocking and sad. We could see no light at the end of the tunnel for the plight of Aboriginals - racism is endemic in Australia, not helped by the terrible effect of alcohol. A powerful, ultimately tragic story.
Most found the disjointed timeline distracting, but others felt it was relevant to the subject - dislocation and the disruption of poverty were an essential theme. A window into a life and a culture, impacted by a history of racism and deprivation.
Most readers did not enjoy this book. Some people found it traumatic, while others found the stream of consciousness writing style difficult to cope with.
This book stimulated one of the best discussions we have had this year.
This was a sad story depicting a community where families were falling apart due to the colonisation of their country many years ago. It depicts how the arrival of white people to Australia has changed the aboriginal lifestyle and skills. Racism, alcohol and domination by a different culture have all resulted in a meaningless and destructive way of life for the aborigine. We thought Gorrie was brave to write this book although we wondered if, perhaps, it was really written for her family and as a catharsis for herself not for publication.
Mixed reaction. All thought it was well-written - almost conversational, but also many struggled with the content. Compared to 'Once Were Warriors' by everyone.
Everyone felt that she had an amazing story to tell, and that she was a courageous woman telling a story many would not want to hear. But, there were differing views on ease of reading and the writing style. Some felt it was a bit muddled and confusing, stream of consciousness or inventory-like, others really enjoyed the style and felt she had told it how it was for her. We hope she is enjoying a better part of her life now.
A book about the effects of colonisation and chaos in dispossessed societies where debt and alcohol fuel a downward spiral. Empathy with institutional racism noted. Excellent read, fun in parts (few).
Very deep discussion. Powerful, raw writing. Not an enjoyable book we thought, but something that needs to be read. The big question we had was "Is there discrimination within the N.Z police force".
Engendered much discussion.
Harrowing story told from the heart. Excellent discussion. Wide ranging views on the writing style.
An enlightening read - full of emotion.
Our group agreed that this memoir had little literary style or value, but felt that the content and issues raised were important and generated an interesting discussion. It was particularly noted that the notes were super informative and the content was much appreciated.
Members found this a harrowing read, not helped by the repetitive, perhaps rather stilted, style of writing.
An excellent read. The way it is written was fine for readers who have a history of trauma.
Thoughtful insight into life of indigenous women in Australia. Addressed issue of racism both socially and institutionally. Story of strong women across generations and their commitment to improve life . Explored the astounding way they have been treated by governments and society. A hard read at time but generated much discussion on how NZ is, and how it has handled similar issues and is racism still a real issue However we did think it was a bit disjointed at times and the timelines hard to follow. Could have done with some better editing but it was clearly her voice.