Napier in the 1930s was a time of going without. The story starts on the 25th of June, 1930 - a sad day in the Bourke household - the funeral of Katie's father. This Catholic family must now survive with earnings from the older siblings and the washing Katie's mother takes in.
When older brother Tom returns home, after a long absence, it is a help - but with him come other troubles. Katie records the events in the old diary her father used to keep. It is her way of speaking to her dad.
Then, in February 1931, disaster strikes the small town ...a n earthquake that destroys the school and much of the town centre.
Earthquake is about a twelve year old girl, Katie Bourke, whose dad dies, so she decides to keep a diary of what's happening around her. She lives at home with her mum, sister Eileen and Uncle Mick until one day one of her older brothers, Tom, comes home after thirteen years away and had never been back.
Katie, her friend Roseanne , and their family are so poor that they are thinking of leaving school at the age of twelve. Back then it was considered normal and not worry about going to college after primary school.
I really enjoyed Katie's personality towards helping her family with needing more money to get food: "I'll give ye sixpence if ye come in for two days and help with accounts".
The book has some sad moments but I really enjoyed the whole book.
Reading the book made me think about the people in Christchurch after the Earthquake, which also made me think how the Napier people had to deal with.
If you're looking for a book with some kiwi history combined with a loving story of a little girl and her family, then this is the book for you.
This book is quite easy to read, written in diary format. It would suit teenagers, but is not quite interesting enough to maintain the attention of an adult (I found myself skim reading) and too complicated for a child to understand.
This book has a good storyline but it takes far too long to actually get into it. I was waiting the whole way through for an earthquake to happen - as the book is titled 'Earthquake', but the book is more focused on the disaster of the Great Depression. The earthquake event doesn't happen until 129 pages in and only goes on for 26 pages until the end of the story.
I might have enjoyed the book more if I had been expecting a story centred on the Great Depression but I found myself just reading and waiting for the earthquake to happen not really enjoying or absorbing what I was reading.
I don't think I would recommend this book if you were looking for a book to help your teens cope with the earthquake.
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"Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs."
Joan Didion (1934 - ), 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'