What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

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UNSOLVED: One specific book > Nonfiction family in Papua New Guinea

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message 1: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) I can't be sure when I read this, but it was sometime between 10 and 20 years ago. It's about a family who moves to Papua New Guinea to do anthropological studies in tribes there. Their daughter has a lot of trouble adjusting and ends up "going native". I can't be sure, but I think it might be an Australian book. Thanks very much!


message 2: by Kate (new)

Kate Farrell | 4070 comments Mod
This sounds interesting. I'm moving this to the Unsolved folder where you'll get more people reading your post.


message 3: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks Kate!


message 4: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 710 comments Any luck here? https://www.goodreads.com/group/books...

Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two Worlds is too recent to be the book you're looking for, but you might find it interesting.


message 5: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks for the suggestions Liralen. The list you have didn't yield any more fruit, but it has given me the inspiration to check out other lists. There's a chance that the book you mentioned is the right one, but not all the details line up. For example, the family in the book were not missionaries at all. They were in the country to study the tribe, not convert it. One thing that came through very clearly in my book was the way the girl embraced the tribal culture. She essentially rebelled against Western culture. She was a teenager during much of the book, and I got the feeling she would have been rebellious regardless of her location. I think at one point she actually left her family's home in the tribe and moved in with the Nationals.


message 6: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 710 comments I remember very little missionary content in Kuegler's book (the focus was definitely more on linguistics and research), I also don't remember much by way of rebellion. She was quite young when her parents took off for PNG, so it was basically all she knew. (Dunno if this is helpful; just throwing stuff out there in case it jogs your memory!) When she eventually left it was to go to school in Switzerland (view spoiler).

Anyway, assuming that's not the book, I hope you find the one you're looking for soon; it sounds interesting!


message 7: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) I've been able to have a bit of a look at Jungle Child through reviews and Google books. It is rather like the book I'm looking for, although I think my book has less on the author's life after New Guinea than Jungle Child. But the clincher that puts it out of the running is the publishing date of 2005. I'm looking for something available in the late 90s.


message 8: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Bump


message 9: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 39280 comments Mod
Is it aimed at an adult or a YA reader? Is it authored by someone in the family, making it kind of a memoir?


message 11: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks for the suggestions, Lobstergirl, but both of those seem to have an anthropological emphasis. This book, as you asked above, was more of a memoir or biography. It's focus was on the expatriate girl, and any discussions of culture or society were from the perspective of her relationship with it. I don't believe the book was YA, but it was an easy read. It was soft cover and probably under 300p. I'm wondering if perhaps it was self published or from a small publisher, given that it should be an easy book to locate, however I can't find it on any searches.


message 12: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks for the suggestions, Lobstergirl, but both of those seem to have an anthropological emphasis. This book, as you asked above, was more of a memoir or biography. It's focus was on the expatriate girl, and any discussions of culture or society were from the perspective of her relationship with it. I don't believe the book was YA, but it was an easy read. It was soft cover and probably under 300p. I'm wondering if perhaps it was self published or from a small publisher, given that it should be an easy book to locate, however I can't find it on any searches.


message 13: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Oh, I just remembered. I believe it was written in first person by the girl herself, making it an autobiography I guess.


message 14: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) I doubt I'll ever find this one. It's just too obscure.


message 15: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 710 comments Keep bumping this thread up every couple months, and who knows :)

Here are a couple that popped up on a WorldCat search:
Innocence to Independence: Life in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, 1956-1980 (oh...GR description mentions her husband, so probably not)
Territory kids: A memoir


message 16: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks very much for making that effort, Liralen. Unfortunately it's not either of those books.


message 17: by Aerulan (new)

Aerulan | 1225 comments Janelle wrote: "I doubt I'll ever find this one. It's just too obscure."

Stick with it Janelle, don't lose hope! Sometimes a search gets solved after years in limbo, you just have to get the right set of eyes on your thread and for some books that can take a while. Liralen is right too, periodic bumping can make a big difference in getting it found.


message 18: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks Aerulan. I've been pretty slack in bumping my posts. I haven't given up hope of finding this book, but I think the chances are remote. It was probably published in Australia, I was planning to move to PNG myself when I read it, and had access to books that probably weren't commonly available.


message 21: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 710 comments And just two more to wrap up that particular search string:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/taim-bi...

The Long Way Home


message 22: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Wow you sure found a lot, Liralen. I'll go through them and let you know.
I would have read it between 1994 and 1998.


message 23: by Kym (new)

Kym | 1058 comments Liralen and Janelle,

This post is such a coincidence. Yesterday I visited the daughter of Sarah Chinnery (Malaguna Road) Prudence, the daughter of my best friend. Poor darling is 93, and last week fell over and broke her hip, and is in hospital at the moment recovering from the operation.

Sitting with her yesterday, we talked about Sarah's garden in New Guinea which bought a beautiful smile to her face.

I am very privileged to own a copy of this book, signed by all the Chinnery daughters.


message 24: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Wow what an amazing coincidence, Kym. How lovely to have a signed copy of her book. I hope she recovers ok. It's tough to have a fall at that age.


message 25: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Well, I've looked through the list and none of them are a match. There sure must be lot of expatriate books about PNG out there. I think the one I'm looking for would probably stand out from the rest though. The autobiographer was fully absorbed into the national culture as a child and as a teenager. It seemed like she was bent on rebelling, and isolated in the tribe, that was the only direction she could go. Her parents seemed to be oblivious of the impact tribal life was having on her. They seemed more interested the anthropology of the tribe.


message 26: by Kym (new)

Kym | 1058 comments Janelle wrote: "Wow what an amazing coincidence, Kym. How lovely to have a signed copy of her book. I hope she recovers ok. It's tough to have a fall at that age."

Thanks Janelle.


message 27: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) You're welcome!


message 28: by Liralen (new)

Liralen | 710 comments @Janelle, well, worth a try :) There was an incredible amount of missionary stuff to sort through -- not terribly helpful for this context but kind of fascinating to see!


message 29: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks for your help, Liralen. Glad you enjoyed it. :)


message 30: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 39280 comments Mod
Janelle, are you still looking for this or did you find it?


message 31: by Mai (new)

Mai | 1253 comments Hi! Not sure if this one has been mentioned before... Also, I don't think it is an autobiography, it looks like a fiction book. I'm just mentioning it because the author is Australian (but lived in the States at the time) and the plot seems to match.

Found it searching AbeBooks:
The Undiscovered Country by Samantha Gillison.

Another novel came up on the same search. Looks unlikely but I'll mention it too (again, just in case!):
Laua Avanapu: A Story of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea
Watkins, Nari (published in 1973). I don't think it's on Goodreads, or at least I couldn't find the link.


message 32: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) I haven’t found it yet Lobstergirl, although I’m not actively looking for for it anymore. I think it’s probably a rather obscure book.


message 33: by Janelle (new)

Janelle (janelle5) Thanks Mai, they look like interesting books, however I don’t think they’re the one I’m looking for.


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