Thursday 14 November 2013

Climb A Lonely Hill by Lilith Norman

My uncle's death at the beginning of November has thrown my reading schedule for AusReading Month.

I've resorted to the easy, comfort rereads of my childhood as a way to soothe my soul.

Not that any of the books I've read this week have had comforting themes or easy topics!

I've relived bushfires, catastrophic floods, car accidents and the death of parents!

Climb A Lonely Hill was a particularly harrowing read when I was younger. And it's still a pretty tough assault on the senses for an adult.

In primary school, we had the best librarian.
She read out loud to us right up 'til the end of Year 6. She read difficult, challenging, inspiring books. Books I remember fondly to this day.

Climb A Lonely Hill was one of the last books she read to us.
It was very frightening. I remember hiding my head under one of the library chairs to try and block out some of the images. But I had to keep on listening - I had to know what happened.

To this day I remember the scene in the desert, when the kids contemplate drinking their own urine with a shiver of horror!

Climb A Lonely Hill won the CBCA 'commended ' award for 1971.

It's not for the faint-hearted, but it's such a remarkable story of survival, courage and determination that I think the fear it inflicts in places is worth it.

Trivia Answer: If someone is having a "bo-peep" - they are announcing their intentions to go to sleep in rhyming slang.
Rhyming slang is not used as often these days as it was during my parents and grandparents eras.
The main ones we still use are "it's time to hit the frog and toad" meaning that it's time to hit the road (and go home). And "Pat Malone" - as in, I'm sitting here all on my Pat Malone (alone).
People still occasionally refer to Sydney as "steak and kidney", their phone as their "dog and bone", their mate as "china plate" and their wife as "trouble and strife".


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your uncle Brona. But glad to see these fascinating posts. I've only seen this book since I've been hanging about in used book sales. It's not one of my 1001 titles, so I haven't bought it, now I'll have to pick one up and add it to the TBR. It sounds great. I'm very impressed with your childhood reading, so much better than mine.

    1. I was very fortunate in my primary school librarian Louise.
      My Year 5 & 6 teachers also read out loud to the class all the time.
      They introduced me to books I would never have picked up on my own (I would have happily reread my Enid Blyton books, Trixie Belden, Little Women & What Katy Did's over and over otherwise!)


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