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Alone on a wide wide sea por Michael…
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Alone on a wide wide sea (original 2006; edição 2007)

por Michael Morpurgo

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3521554,895 (4.03)14
When orphaned Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after WWII, he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows. The coming years test him to his limits, as he endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback. But, Arthur is saved, again and again, by his love of the sea.… (mais)
Título:Alone on a wide wide sea
Autores:Michael Morpurgo
Informação:London : HarperCollins Children's Books, 2007.
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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Alone on a Wide Wide Sea por Michael Morpurgo (2006)

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(2.5) In this novel for older children, Michael Morpurgo presents the story of orphan Arthur Hobhouse, thought to be born sometime around 1940 in Bermondsey, London. In 1946, when he’s only six years old, he and a large group of other child migrant boys are sent by ship to Australia. Marty (Arthur’s ten-year-old friend and protector) tells the younger boy that all of them have been “specially chosen from all the orphans in England” to go to the brand new country of Australia, a place unaffected by war where food is abundant and warm-hearted families are waiting to look after them.

The truth, of course, is a lot less lovely. As the author notes in the afterword, unwanted and orphaned children were troublesome to the British government. Getting the kids out of England’s slums and sending them off to the colonies was considered a good way to solve the problem. Morpurgo writes that from 1947 to 1967 somewhere between 7,000 to 11,000 British children were sent to Australia. Some of these kids got lucky: they were placed in loving homes and got a step up in life. A lot were not: they were abused and exploited. Some laboured on farms like slaves, enduring harsh, even cruel conditions. Morpurgo chose to create fiction around one of these unfortunates.

His central character, Arthur, along with nine other boys (including Marty), ends up at Cooper Station, a large farming outfit some 300 miles from Sydney. The place is run by a former fire-and-brimstone-style preacher, Mr. “Piggy” Bacon and his meek and subservient wife, Ida. The Dickensian Piggy drives the boys hard and relishes strapping them for the most minor of infractions. He regularly holds a sort of “punishment hour” every evening to deal with each day’s misdemeanours.

One boy runs away from the farm. His dead body is returned a day later by local Aboriginal people. Arthur and Marty are luckier. Help comes from an unexpected source when Marty decides it’s time for them to try escaping. One evening, the boys’ dormitory door is actually unlocked for them. The two flee the cattle station on a beloved old horse. Out on the scrubland, the boys receive further surprising assistance and are brought to a place of safety. For a number of years, Arthur and Marty experience the feeling of family. In their teens, they leave for Sydney where they learn the boat-building trade.

In this first part of the novel, Arthur and Marty often attribute any positive thing that comes their way to a good luck charm that Arthur wears on a string around his neck. It’s a tiny key that Arthur believes was given to him by his sister, Kitty. His memories of her are so fragmentary, however, that he isn’t even sure she exists. Marty has a dream of the two one day sailing to England in one of their own hand-built boats to find her.

The second part of the novel turns from Arthur’s story to his daughter Allie’s. Her quest is to sail to England from Tasmania in order to fulfill her father’s dream of finding Kitty, should she exist. Allie has been around boats all her life. She learned to sail early and is a highly competent sailor. Her stormy adventures on the sea (described in the upbeat, lightly punctuated, and abbreviated prose of the logbook and email) make up the second half of the book. I have to admit that I sometimes wondered why she didn’t just take a plane. I also tired of her email reports documenting her memorization of her father’s favourite poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Although there is certainly sadness and hardship in Morpurgo’s narrative (both father and daughter experience dark nights of the soul), its contents are largely of the “heartwarming” variety. Characters are not particularly complex. It’s easy to separate the good guys from the bad. The conclusion is happy—predictably so. While there is a feeling of authenticity to the narration—two quite real-sounding voices (Arthur’s and Allie’s) are heard telling what happened to them in everyday language—the prose suffers a little for this authorial decision. At times, it is repetitive, wordy, bland, and cliché-ridden. In spite of this, I can imagine some of the young people I know enjoying this essentially positive, somewhat sentimental, and fairly undemanding story of familial love. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Aug 12, 2019 |
Orphaned in WW2, Arthur is separated from his sister and sent to Australia. Sixty years later, Arthur's daughter sets sail on a yacht designed by her father, determined to find his long lost sister in England. Beautiful and terribly sad story but full of hopefulness. ( )
  AccyP | Nov 16, 2018 |
Two books in one. The first half is Arthur's story which is very similar to "Becoming Billy Dare" and also has shades of "A Fortunate Life" in it. A 7 year old orphan after World War 2, Arthur is sent to Australia for a chance at a "better" life. The reality is anything but. He and a group of other orphans are sent to a remote farm in NSW where they are used as virtual slave labour in the fields, and beaten and starved if they refuse to work....all in the name of Jesus and salvation. Eventually Arthur escapes with his best mate and they live with a "possum lady" widow who looks after orphaned wild animals and also builds boats. Arthur learns to build boats and also wonders about the key around his neck and the fading memory of a girl called Kitty who put it there. Is she his sister or has he imagined her?
Book 2 is not as good as the first book. Allie is Arthur's daughter who sets sail in a yacht built by her father to travel from Australia to England ( much like the famed Jessica Watson) to see if she can solve the mystery of the key. There is a lot of waffle in her diary about albatrosses etc. and I couldn't help thinking "Wouldn't it have been quicker to fly on a plane there!?" ( )
  nicsreads | Mar 12, 2018 |
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo for the longest while had the honor of being the second book on my wishlist. It had been on there I think since the book was first published. For whatever reason it doesn't seem to have been published here in the States even though many of Morpurgo's other books are in print here.

When the book came out I was very active in BookCrossing especially with book relays, rings and RABCKs (random acts of BookCrossing kindness). Although I don't remember receiving the book via the site, I did, a couple years ago. At the time I received the book I wasn't actively trying to read wishlist books. Thus, out of sight, out of mind.

Flash forward to June 2010. I am participating in the On My Wishlist meme. At the time I had 309 books on my wishlist and Alone on a Wide Wide Sea was number two. Except I had forgotten that I had a copy!

Go forward to the end of the year when I was culling my shelves for books I realized I would never read and should donate to the Friends of the Library. What does my hand fall on? Of course... Alone on a Wide Wide Sea.

The book takes its title from Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It's a poem I've read in pieces many times but still need to sit down and read as an epic poem. The poem itself provides the warp which the plot is woven through.

The book is told in two parts: Arthur Hobhouse's story of life in Australia as a transplanted WWII orphan and Allie Hobhouse's solo sailing trip to England to find her aunt. Arthur's story is one of trying to find a sense of family and belonging. Along the way he grows up and gains the skills he needs to return to England, namely, ship building.

The journey home though isn't Arthur's to take and must instead be taken by his daughter. At the time I was reading the book, there was a girl of similar age making a solo sailing journey around the globe. To keep herself sane on the trip she memorizes the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

At the close of the book Morpurgo explains that the book was inspired by actual families who were split up during the war and adopted off to families in Australia and Canada. ( )
1 vote pussreboots | Jul 28, 2013 |
It was sad at times but still very good ( )
  brendanmatarau2012 | Oct 29, 2012 |
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When orphaned Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after WWII, he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows. The coming years test him to his limits, as he endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback. But, Arthur is saved, again and again, by his love of the sea.

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