Purple Heart [NF/NZ]

Fiu, Ta'afuli Andrew

  9 Reviews

Fiu candidly outlines life as a Samoan growing up in New Zealand society. At the age of five in 1970, Fiu and his family emigrated from Samoa, and settled in Auckland. At 14 years of age, Fiu is misdiagnosed with the flu, and his untreated rheumatic fever flares up into heart trouble. Fiu embarks on a journey through illness that will involve a world record of five open-heart-surgery operations. This honest and often emotional memoir is an almost accidental history of New Zealand's unchanged attitudes towards the Pacific cultures. NZ Interest. [Larger font]

This title is also offered as part of the Narrative Muse Book Club.

Comments from Groups

We all loved this book, and found the writing and subtle humour well done. Would definitely recommend. Morrinsville 002

We had a good discussion about this book, and every member enjoyed it. For several it was an eye-opener about the prejudice met by Pasifika people, and a first time window into the dynamics within a Samoan family. Rotorua 002

Most of us enjoyed this easy to read remarkable story, and could picture the characters. There was lots of discussion about families not able to afford medical care - also about the increase in rheumatic fever and the Northland attempt to highlight the dangers and the need for early intervention etc. We also discussed alternatives to beating in regard to discipline, and the differerent cultural and religious approaches to discipline. Upper Hutt 001

The group enjoyed a lively discussion about the book, covering themes of religion, cultural differences and health issues. We agreed that as a personal story it was great, although there were gaps in the story that we were inquisitive about. Ashburton 004

Although this book is on a very topical subject, and the group generally enjoyed the insight into Samoan life and the humour, it was felt to be more like tales told around a campfire, not a great work of literature. The book had potential to develop a Samoan 'voice", and could have included more from the author's family life, and more medical detail about the disease. Cooks Beach 001

We had a good discussion about racism in NZ and child abuse/discipline. Overall, a happy read about individual strengths and strong family support. Waikanae 002



Very interesting and lively discussion on many aspects mentioned in and arising from the book. Enjoyed by all. Easy reading.
AUCK 223
Easy read. All enjoyed.
We found it frustrating in that it touched on big issues like the birth of his children, but didn't explore them. Discussion went well.
AUCK 105
We found this a disappointing read, although agree with the note writer that the narrative improved in the later chapters.
Everyone in the group enjoyed this book. It provided a different perspective of a culture and lifestyle that we would otherwise not have access to.
All enjoyed the book. An excellent account of his life and will to live. Was inspirational as well as informative and well-written.
WELL 008
Excellent discussion - we enjoyed the book.
AUCK 366
We enjoyed the book although it lacked depth, and skimmed over family life which would have been interesting.
AUCK 307
While most members found this a relatively light read, we all agreed that there were valuable insights into Samoan (Auckland) culture, racism, hospital life at various stages, and the effects of rheumatic fever and the evolution of heart surgery. All were well described. It seemed repetitive at times, but on reflection we thought the family groups had to be repeated as they expanded with time.