Ellen's Reviews > A Town Like Alice

A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
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's review
Feb 01, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Ellen by: BBC Big Reads

I discovered this book through the BBC big read where viewers choose their top 100 novels of all time. I decided that I would make it my goal to read all 100 books as a way to broaden my reading horizons.

While this book is an enjoyable read I believe that it hasnt dated that well and is quite racist in parts particularly against the Aboriginal people. Some of the language and terms used tended to jar with me and left me feeling quite uncomfortable. Although written in 1949 I still feel that the blatent racism in the book and the firm belief that the white man is superior in most ways to their African and Aboriginal counterparts is inexcusable.

The first section of the book deals with the main characters experience in Malaya during the first world war. This part of the book is actually based on a real woman experience of being taken prisoner of the Japanese during the second world war. As there were no POW camps for women in this area she and a number of other women ended up walking around Malaya for over 1200 miles. This I found to be the most enjoyable and fascinating part of thestory.

Unfortunately when the book veers into the telling of the romance that develops from this experience it actually lags and i found the last 150 pages quite difficult to read particularly as this was the section that had the most racism.
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