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Disturbing the Dust

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  15 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Jenny Tomlinson has complex feelings about her unusual childhood in England. She is teaching at a school in Australia, when memories of traumatic events, also concerning a dear friend Terry, surface, become intrusive and begin to threaten her emotional wellbeing. She knows she needs to examine them further and, on returning home, her subsequent quest to prove herself and T ...more
Paperback, Second, 436 pages
Published 2015 by Woodslane Press
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  15 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Carolyn King
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
'Disturbing the Dust' provides a powerful insight into the psychological damage wrought by social stereotyping in 1950s England. We follow the life of a young girl as she grapples with past injustices and is compelled to make things right. This story reveals in meticulous detail a picture of society at this time. We are transported back in time and are able to understand the horror this young girl felt when no one would listen to the truth.

From the moment I began reading this book I could not p
...more
Barbara Mullen
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jenny is the complex, flawed central character in Pauline James’ novel, “Disturbing the Dust” and it is through Jenny that the reader explores the consequences of unjust accusations. With a calm precision, the author peels back, layer by layer, the trauma of a childhood event which claims its victims well into their adulthood. As Jenny ruminates on the injustice done to her as a child and subsequently to her family, her friend Terry and his family, we discover the effects of the trauma over many ...more
Sally Laycock
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Disturbing the Dust by Pauline James

For me, this book certainly did disturb the dust, bringing back memories of my schooling in England and Australia. I was enthralled as I read through the chapters and was transported back in time, as a schoolgirl, to the classrooms of the 50s and 60s.
Socially, class distinction was ever present and oh so subtle, so I chuckled as I was reminded of the distinction between napkins and serviettes. I could hear my Grandmother scolding me for asking for a serviette
...more
Pamela
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beginning my career in education in Australia in the 1970s, Jenny Tomlinson's story resonated in terms of the social issues of the time (and to some extent remain) as well as the challenges and delights that are inherent in the work of a teacher. This was the hook that drew me into the story. As the story unfolded and characters developed, I gained insights into broader enduring social issues, particularly as they relate to the English context. Power and class divide that pervade the characters' ...more
Mehreen Ahmed
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This discerning book called Disturbing the Dust by Pauline James is typically set in an Australian environment without any ambiguities. Although the term itself might render itself ambiguous, pertaining to both a state of mind and the dusty continent of Australia, however, its most attractive quality is the universal appeal, honed over many years of learning, which is its clarity of writing. As far as the theme goes, it is yet another human drama perhaps, with exponential distribution of drudger ...more
Meldi Arkinstall
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very intelligent and perceptive book that examines the way past traumatic experiences can come back to haunt us later in life.
The author is very compassionate and analytical, and begins the story from the point of view of nine-year-old Jenny.
Jenny adores her sister's boyfriend, Terry, because he takes time to speak with her.
A digging trip for the kids is lots of fun, but the day ends in disaster when an important family heirloom goes missing.
Many years later a grown up Jenny is teaching in Aus
...more
Cheryl Calwell
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished Disturbing the Dust (only started it a few days ago). Congratulations. I found it completely engaging & really cared about Jenny. The descriptions of her childhood feelings in particular were so real - at times almost painfully so - youngest child syndrome maybe?
Over the last few years I have had some trouble maintaining concentration on books - not this one - it had me hooked from the beginning.
Thanks for a great read.

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Pauline James
Feb 05, 2016 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
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I grew up in the village of Collingham, near Newark, and went to Sheffield University where I studied Chemistry and Education. After teaching in Sheffield for two years and marrying a fellow student, I then travelled with him to the USA where we stayed for two years, followed by migration to Australia in 1969. While teaching Chemistry and General Science in Brisbane for three years, I acquired a B ...more