Thursday, 15 September 2016

Wild Pork and Watercress - Barry Crump

Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump
It's probably about fifteen years since I last read a book by Barry Crump. I don't claim to have a great knowledge of his work, but do remember enjoying a good keen man. I may have read more, I'm not sure. I was fairly certain that I had not read Wild Port and Watercress previously. When the film Hunt for the Wilderpeople came out earlier this year, I watched, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wild Pork and Watercress, the book on which it's based was sitting on our bookshelf. I decided that it might be worth a look.

Although the story is slightly different to the film, the basic idea is the same. An overweight and seemingly unloved young Maori boy goes to live with his aunt and uncle in the countryside. After his aunt's sudden death, Ricky is faced with going into care. Rather than allow that to happen, he runs away to the bush. His Uncle Hec has also gone into the bush and the two of them find themselves on the run from authorities.

Living off the land and their own hunting skills, they manage to avoid the police and rangers who are on the look out for them. They move around to avoid detection, supplementing what they can catch, with supplies from various huts.

In many ways, this is the innocent tale of two loners who find themselves thrown together against the rest of the world. A World that thinks that there must be something quite unsavoury and unnatural about the relationship between an older man and a young boy. Really, this is a story of friendship.

Told from Ricky's point of view, you can't help but hope that Ricky and Hec manage to make it and survive out there. Keeping out of the way of the authorities that want to split them up and bring them home. It's an easy read and Crump manages to capture Ricky's voice so well that it's easy to accept the idea that the narrator is a teenage boy. Great read and unusually one that could be read before or after seeing the film, without one spoiling the enjoyment of the other.