Saturday, November 27, 2010

What I'm Reading

Most people are familiar with Mutiny on the Bounty, and this book is about the present-day descendants of some of the mutineers and their Tahitian companions who settled on a then-incorrectly charted Pitcairn Island where they've lived in near total isolation for the past 200 years.

Even today the island is only accessible by boat, and it's a multi-day boat ride to get there from the nearest island. Over the years, the population of Pitcairn has been romanticized as these utopian people leading an idyllic life.

Well, about a dozen years ago, reports of child sexual abuse came up and eventually trials were held that involved nearly every male inhabitant. The argument was whether this was a societal/cultural issue (the "Polynesian way") or a crime.

The book was written by a British journalist, based in Australia. It's a fascinating account, and even more so, a glimpse into an almost unimaginable life where everything you use must be imported... there isn't even fresh water on the island; their water needs are all met via rain, even though they now have WiFi and satellite phones. It makes me think about if I could live that way -- although she has frequently used the word "claustrophobic."

Have only read about 100 pages, but I am enjoying it. One little factoid that surprised me is that, at the time of the mutiny, Captain Bligh was 33 years old! I thought he was an old man -- I guess based on movie portrayals.

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