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Canterbury Quake by Desna Wallace.

February 5, 2014

Canterbury quakeCanterbury Quake by Desna Wallace. Pub.Scholastic, 2014.

As a survivor of the Canterbury quakes I can tell you that this book is as close as you can get to the quakes and the effects they had on the city of Christchurch and the people of Canterbury, without actually being there.

Eleven year old Maddy tells the story in diary form from the normalcy of August 2010 through the shock of the 7.1 Darfield earthquake and the aftershocks, the Boxing Day shake up, the destructive 2011 February 22nd quake and the June 2011 tremor plus the 12,000 aftershocks. You feel every one of them.

Maddy’s family, older sister Tessa, younger brother Jackson plus mother father aunts and uncles, school friends, and the city all had experiences they will never forget. Desna Wallace has recalled memories I had shunted away but really needed to think about again now that a sort of normalcy has returned.

Some quotes from the book – “It isn’t fair this happening to us again. People dead. I don’t want to believe it. Not my town. Not my city.”

“We walked home hand in hand on the worst day ever”

“It is not normal to see the ground move like that”

” I see faces full of fear”

Yet there was some humour in the whole event. After each aftershock people would guess it’s magnitude. It is a 4.5 0r a 3.9 almost nonchalantly. Can we forget Ken Ring? or the pictures of the Medway street Bridge or the railway line in Canterbury country.

In the midst of it all we had the Royal Wedding. How can we ever forget? Desna has captured our feelings and experiences in this excellent novel which is part of the My New Zealand Story series.

For children and adults it is difficult to see a better recollection than this short accessible novel.

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