Published on July 5th, 2016 | by Booknotes Administrator0
Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump
Set in 1980s New Zealand, this is the story of Ricky Baker, a chubby Māori boy who is going off the rails due to being labelled a slow learner. ‘They shifted me around from class to class, trying to work out where fat Māori boys who can’t play rugby or learn simple stuff fitted in.’
A last-ditch effort to straighten him out is offered in the form of Aunt Bella and Uncle Hec and their remote farm on the edge of the Urewera Ranges. Aunt Bella is a loving mother figure, but Uncle Hec remains grouchy and mean. When Aunt Bella dies suddenly, Uncle Hec decides to ‘go bush’ and Ricky pleads with him to take him along, to which he reluctantly agrees. Much of the book is about their adventures in the bush, the people they meet, and their avoidance of authority. They become a legendary pair of fugitives.
Although this book doesn’t have the outrageous humour of the movie adaptation (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), it’s still funny in its own right and I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to people who like New Zealand fiction and survival stories.