Protecting a Culture Against Modernization

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A girl who can change her tribe's future. A dangerous stranger who wants her island's resources and threatens her island with modern objects.

 

A girl who can change her tribe's future. A dangerous stranger who wants her island's resources and threatens her island with modern objects.

 

"Island's End" by Radma Venkatraman is set on an island in the Andaman Islands, many miles east of India, where a tribe lays unaware of the modern world. Blessed by her tribe's gods with the ability to see into the Otherworld, Uido sets out to become an oko-jumu, a spiritual leader for the tribe.

 

Uido trains with Lah-ame, the current spiritual leader of the tribe. Uido goes on a journey deep into her island to face her fear of the swamp and the creatures that lurk within it. She finds her spirit animal as she adventures in to the stranger's modern world to help heal her sick brother.

 

One night, she dreams that one of the gods tells her to go to the beach. Uido awakes, and goes. To her surprise, strangers from the world outside her island have arrived at her home. The strangers bring their magic to Uido's world, threatening to erode the customs of the tribe. The strangers' 'magic' includes matches and cloth, as well as medication.

 

As the strangers become a peril to Uido's tribe and influence many tribe members, Uido tries to convince the tribe that the strangers are dangerous.

 

"Island's End" keeps the reader wondering what will happen next. The characters felt almost real, as if Uido herself was telling her story to me. The plot is filled with twists and turns, and a satisfying conclusion.

 

There were a few confusing parts, mostly in the tribes language. For example, mothers are called 'Mimi'.

 

I would recommend this book for ages 9 and up. "Island's End" would be a good book for readers who like historical/realistic fiction, and for those who like reading about other cultures.

 

Title: "Island's End"

Author: Padama Venkatraman

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

Number of Pages: 225