The Secret Life of Maeve Lee Kwong (Children of the Wind) Paperback – 9 Jan 2006
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'a wonderful book for the early teens (particularly girls)...I highly recommend it as a great read.'Reading Time, Vol 51 No 1'Delightful. But you may need a box of tissues!'Mania, November 2006'The central character of Maeve is beautifully rendered, and her journey of discovery to establish her identity and accept her Irish/Chinese heritage an affecting one...her family and friends, too, are realistically flawed and all too human. In general, there is a grand sweep to the novel and, indeed, the whole quartet.'Magpies4, September 2006
About the Author
Kirsty Murray is the author of three junior novels - Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish (winner of the WA Premier's Children's Book Award, 2001), Market Blues and Walking Home with Marie Claire - in addition to the three earlier books of the Children of the Wind series. She has also written several non-fiction books for children. She has worked as a forest ranger, archivist, artist and teacher, and now is a full-time writer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this novel, Maeve Lee Kwong is the daughter of Sue Kwong. She knows her Irish father's name -- Davy Lee -- but has never met him.
Sue is Maeve's mother. She met Davy while he was visiting Sydney. Then he left for Nepal without learning that Sue was pregnant.
Andy is Sue's husband and Maeve's stepfather. He is the father of Ned.
Ned is a toddler. He is Maeve's half brother from the marriage of Sue and Andy.
Bianca Storelli is the best friend of Maeve and Steph. Bunca's mother is a hippie.
Stephanie Maguire is best friend of Maeve and Bunca. She comes from a large family.
Colm McCade is a teacher at St. Philomena's. The Three Musketeers have him for music class.
In this story, Steph and Bunca stay over at Maeve's house on Friday night. There they use an old ouija board to answer their questions. Since the planchette is missing, they use an old glass to find the answers.
After Bianca and Steph have answers, Maeve asks if all her dreams will come true. The glass moves, then hesitates, and shatters. Maeve has a drop of blood on her finger.
Around then, Ned starts crying from the noise. Sue comes up to comfort Ned and suggests that the girls go to bed. Maeve cleans up the broken glass and then they all fall asleep.
Later, Maeve has a discussion about her true father with Sue. Her mother tells of her first encounter and her feelings. Then she relates the separation when Davy goes to Nepal. She explains why her pregnancy was never mentioned.
One day, Sue gives Maeve a ride to school and then takes Ned to his new creche. Then Maeve is called to the Vice-Principal's office. There she is told that her mother has had an auto accident. They do not know whether Ned had been with her at the time.
Maeve insists on going to see her mother. The Vice-Principal finally agrees and also give permission for Steph and Bianca to go with her. McCabe drives them to the hospital.
At Maeve's request, McCabe asks the doctor to inform them of Sue's condition. At first, the doctor wants to wait for Andy to arrive, but Maeve points out that she has been with her mother much longer than Andy. Finally, the doctor states that her mother is brain-dead and takes her to see the body.
Then Maeve's maternal grandparents come to Sydney and want to take her with them to Queensland. Maeve would rather stay with Andy and Ned, but Andy has never adopted her and has no claim on her. Maeve goes with Goong Goong and Por Por -- the Chinese name for grandparents -- to their hotel, but she leaves and wanders around Sydney.
Eventually she goes with Sue's father and mother to Queensland, but is not happy there. She sees her Goong Goong as too insensitive, but he sees her as ignorant of -- and not concerned about -- Chinese culture. Then she goes on vacation with her friends and they bring up the idea of returning to St. Philomena as a boarding student.
This tale changes Maeve's life. She meets new people at St. Philomena and spends part of the weekends with Andy and Ned. Then she gets involved in a musical production and meets Jackson.
The story is about many things, including mixed cultural heritages, paternal loss, and dancing. Still, mostly it is about friendships. The Three Musketeers fight and go their separate ways on occasion, but they are always there when needed.
This is the last volume in the series. The author's latest publication is Vulture's Wake. Read and enjoy!
Highly recommended for Murray fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of adolescent girls, foreign cultures, and personal losses.