Driving Into The Sun

Marcella Polain


Fremantle Press

February 2019

$29.99 AU

312p pb

ISBN: 978-1925591996

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Driving into the Sun written by Marcella Polain explores the life of a young girl in 1960s rural Perth, Australia. This novel captures the inner workings of a child's mind. The text is filled with wonder and excitement while simultaneously targeting mature themes.

Orla is a joyous child who enjoys living in her little corner of the world. She begins the novel oblivious to the struggles her family face, such as financial issues, a search for permanent housing and the constant exhaustion her father faces due to the gritty work of being a battery farmer. But following her father's sudden death, her world is shattered, forcing her into harsh reality. Without her father, her mother is forced to work in a ‘man's world’ as she struggles to maintain her family. Orla must take a greater responsibility for both herself and her sister while juggling school, friendship and boys. Nevertheless, Orla retains her faithful perception of the world.

Written from the overactive imagination of a child, the novel’s beginning is not an easy read. While the vague description and choppy changes is a brilliant and authentic representation of a child's mind, the somewhat confusing text may disengage readers. Further into the novel, as the protagonist matures, the text becomes much more comprehensible. The switches between the different characters’ perspectives add great depth to the writing.

I would recommend this novel for strong readers who enjoy looking for deeper meanings, ages 15 +.  This novel has both engaging and challenging themes along with being a beautiful insight into an early Australian childhood.

Siobhan, Year 10


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