WANDERING GIRL by Glenyse Ward


Age Range: 12 & up
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 An aboriginal Australian, forcibly taken from her parents and raised in a strict Catholic institution, describes her time as a servant during her 17th year. A naive girl with no training and no experience outside the mission, Glenyse has no choice: she's delivered to Mayor Bigelow and his vicious wife as their one domestic. Housed in a dirty garage, instructed to eat meager, inferior food after cooking sumptuous meals for the family to share in their luxurious dining room, given unfamiliar tasks with no instruction, browbeaten and humiliated at every turn, she quietly retaliates by gorging hungrily and luxuriating in the Bigelows' bath when they are out and by hosing the inside of their car when told to ``wash'' the back seat where she herself has been sitting. Finally, a school friend offers a haven and she's off to begin a better life. Glenyse's voice is artless and untutored, giving her narrative immediacy, but also leaving it open to interpretation. Clearly she has real cause for anger, but she also seems to exaggerate: she often accomplishes an incredible amount in one day, and is never caught--or even suspected--in her escapades. Ingenuously, she reveals her youthful self as gauche and awkward, but when she mentions doing her jobs in her ``usual casual way,'' it's hard to tell whether she's more inept or rebellious. Still, an authentic, honest account of injustice: unusual source material. (Autobiography. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-8050-1634-1
Page count: 183pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991