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Purple Threads

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Based on the author’s childhood experiences growing up in a house full of fiercely independent women, this collection offers a unique perspective on the Australian country lifestyle. From Aunty Boo’s surveillance of the local farmers’ sheep dip alliance to Aunty Bubby’s fireside tales of the Punic Wars, the women in this book offer sage advice to their nieces about growing ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published 2011 by UQP (University of Queensland Press)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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If this book is semi-autobiographic then Jeanine Leane had a wonderful loving childhood in a house of strong, independent and proud Aboriginal women.
The dialogue and wisdom spoken between Nan and the two Aunties (Boo and Bubby) was humorous, honest and full of truisms. Their views on the Catholic Church were a highlight as well as their attendance on a Sunday to keep up the public appearance of being faithful believers. The women protected lost sheep and dogs, believed the world only needed wom
Purple Threads is a debut novel from Wiradjuri author Jeanine Leane, and it was winner of the 2011 David Unaipon award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize in 2012. It’s an impressive debut.

I’d really like to see the ABC make a TV series out of this book. The episodic structure lends itself to a series, and although she’s not indigenous, Anne Phelan is the sort of actor I envisage playing the role of the irascible character of Aunty Boo. Aunty Boo lays down the law about the general
zara may
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I think that much of the book being written from the perspective of a child gives really important insights into how her Indigenous family functioned within a world in which families were exactly the opposite to theirs. The family's relationship to animals, and how they take in lots of abandoned and injured cats, dogs and lambs is so beautiful, and is so contrasted with Sunny's white grandparents in Queensland who kill a horse because it has gone lame and can no longer 'earn i ...more
Renée Dahlia
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating family story about growing up in Australia. Leane's writer's voice is almost stream of consciousness in style (which I usually find challenging) yet this time it really works as a natural voice for the story.

The book is quirky and funny, while also being poignant about the reality of life as an Aboriginal kid in rural Australia. I adored the parts about going to Sunday School (a mirror to my own experiences of being forced to attend church for appearances sake). There are many thr
Niki Searson
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot compacted into this story. Beautiful strong characters, a lovely read, I highly recommend. Would also love to see these characters and story transferred to TV to share with those who don’t read.
Jasmin Jane
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
At first, I found the plotline/timeline of this book a little strange, as it really just follows Sunshine through her childhood, and isn't confined to a typical beginning, middle, and end. Though, after overcoming that, I found I really loved this book! The Australian slang can be hard to keep up with at times, even for a fellow Australian (me). But I just adored the way Leane illustrates Sunshine's life and offers so many different perspectives of white Australian culture from an Indigenous vie ...more
Dajuroka Reads
Interesting read. One of my set texts next term. Indigenous female writer with somewhat foreign insights ( to me at least as an ageing white male ) into the land - country- and the struggle aboriginal women have had over the last few generations. Intricate weaving of intertextuality with Macbeth and Wuthering Heights. Some delightful descriptions of the flora and fauna and the turning of the seasons. Have to read a few more times but an easy entry into indigenous Australian writing.
Sarah Bigham
Mar 07, 2021 added it
Shelves: teens
Memoir of a Wiradjuri author from Australia. I had the opportunity to meet the author at the National Book Festival where she and fellow Aboriginal authors spoke about the importance of representation, literature, and more.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful words a very goo.d read
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
There are some really interesting parts to this collection, but it doesn't quite hold together or have much of an arc. More like a 2.5 for me (though I really like Leane's scholarly writing a lot!) ...more
Steph Anne
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gemma Wiseman
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Layers of stories tumble from the worlds of a ragged home in Gundagai in southern New South Wales. A young girl is buffeted between stories from past and present worlds - her aunts' versions. But she is intrigued. She loves her different world, close to the music and moods of the earth. Only humans strike the wrong chords, but the other music plays in the background. Her purple threads - the earth colours of an Australian October, her birth season - keep her connected. Sunny is an Aboriginal gir ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
The author describes this very easy-to-read book as "episodic cycle fiction". She acknowledged that these stories about an aboriginal child growing up with her sister, aunts and grandmother outside of Gundagai is quite a factual account of her childhood. What adds to the texture of this book is that even though they were a financially disadvantaged family and certainly not a family accepted by the mainstream white community (including the school), Jeanine Leane eventually continued her education ...more
Aaron Bauer
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Usually, my enjoyment of a piece of literature is inversely proportional to the frequency of references to the Bronte sisters; however, this book was hard to stop reading--despite the frequent cameos of Wurthering Heights. If you are looking for some excellent literature from the prospective of a contemporary Australian indigenous author, give this book a try.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
A good story weaving indigenous issues into a context that young adult readers could relate too. Some challenging issues are dealt with in a fairly light way however, as a class text there would be a variety of ways to depth the students understanding and reading of the text. Recommend it for English teachers and probably year 8-9 students.
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved this book, written in dialect, and describing a life outside of the mainstream. I wish it had been more complete in dealing with the girls' mother, Petal, but was an enjoyable and believable novel. ...more
Danny Fahey
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful novel full of wonderful true characters. I enjoyed its simplicity and its capturing of an Australia that is slowly passing away, its good bits and its ugly side. I recommend this book to anyone.
Jan 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Well formed and strong female characters and the sort of gently meandering narrative that I recognise from lots of other Aboriginal fiction.
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Emily Wrayburn
Jun 09, 2018 marked it as did-not-finish
I didn't finish this book but not because there's anything particularly wrong with it. The writing is quite good. It's just that it wasn't really the style of thing I usually read and I ended up getting a bit bored with it. I want to incorporate more Indigenous Australian authors into my reading but I know there are writers out there writing in the genres I enjoy most, so I am going to do more to seek them out. ...more
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Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri woman from south-west New South Wales. A Doctorate in literature and Aboriginal representation from the University of Technology, Sydney, followed a long teaching career at secondary and tertiary level. Formerly an Indigenous Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, she currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship at A ...more

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