Publication:

Napier Courier - 2021-10-13

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Story would work better as amovie

BOOKS

GangGirl ByDavid Whittet, Copypress, $35 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. This is a debutNewZealand novel about gang life, written by a white GP. He’s based it on what he saw as a doctor in Te Karaka, seeing thosewho live this life in a poor part of the country. It started life as an independent film, which Whittetwrote and directed, which has apparently donewell on the film festival circuit andwon several awards. As a novel though, it doesn’t work quite as well. Aroha is born into gang life in the 1970s as the daughter of a notorious gang leader, and is pledged to marry her cousin Hunapo. She longs to escape the life, and its brutal tattoos of young boys, viscious beatings and shootings. The writing has far toomany adjectives to work as a tough story about love, betrayal and redemption. And atmore than400 pages it’s too long. Something about thewriting doesn’t feel authentic, but it would probably work as a film. I’ll wait for the movie. — LindaThompson

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