Matilda is caught in a bloody civil war in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea where her only saviours are the teachings of Popeye and 'Great Expectations’. We enter the world of Victorian London through her eyes and relive the language and characters of Dickens's famous novel. An excellent read but don't expect visions of a tropical paradise; in places the violence made me shudder. But once opened, I couldn't put this book down.
During the blockade we could not waste fuel or candles. But as the rebels and redskins went on butchering one another, we had another reason for hiding under the cover of night. Mr Watts had given us kids another world to spend the night in. We could escape to another place. It didn't matter that it was Victorian England. We found we could easily get there. It was just the blimmin' dogs and the blimmin' roosters that tried to keep us here.
By the time Mr Watts reached the end of chapter one I felt like I had been spoken to by this boy Pip. This boy who I couldn't see to touch but knew by ear. I had found a new friend.
The surprising thing is where I'd found him - not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend. Or that you could slip inside the skin of another. Or travel to another place with marshes, and where, to our ears the bad people spoke like pirates.