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Mutant Message Down Under
by Marlo Morgan

Category: Fiction / General
187 pages; ISBN: 0-0601-7192-8

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Coletta Ollerer


The narrator is an American medical doctor, in her 50s, who is invited to live in Australia for a period of 4 years to work on a project there. She works with aboriginal people who are trying to mainstream and news of that work gets to an aboriginal group of people living in the bush. They invite her to attend a luncheon so they may honor her for her work. She agrees expecting the meeting to take place in the city. It turns out that her escort, an aborigine in a jeep, picks her up and takes her out of the city onto a highway at first but then into the bush for miles and miles. She has no hope of finding her way back on her own. She must stay with the people she has to come to meet.

They welcome her in the bush and ask her to turn over to them the possessions she has brought with her and her clothing. What can she do? She decides to trust them. The first shock comes when they take those possessions, including expensive jewelry, and her clothing and promptly burn them. “For a moment my heart was numb; I took a very deep sigh. I don’t know why I didn’t shout a protest and immediately run to retrieve everything. But I didn’t.” They give her a small piece of fabric to wear. All this is done with broad smiles and gentle nods.

Now her trek begins. She learns how people can live with nothing but their faith in their God. They are carrying no food or water, just a few animal skins on which to sleep or to cover themselves at night. They are wearing minimum amounts of clothing, scraps, really. After several weeks walking around with no mirror or anything else she reflects, “It was like walking around inside a capsule with eyeholes. I was always looking out, looking at others, observing how they were relating to what I was doing or what I was saying. . . . . . . . Without a mirror to frighten me back into reality, I could experience feeling beautiful. Obviously I wasn’t, but I felt beautiful. The people accepted me as I was. They made me feel included, and unique and wonderful.”

The aborigines call themselves The Real People. Anyone who is not one of them is termed a Mutant. Because of their respect for her work they want her to learn how they really live. The reader is carried along for the ride on their 4 month trek through the outback. It is a memorable ride.

In the introduction, the author states that this is not a work of fiction even though that is how the book is catalogued. She had to publish it this way because the non-fiction category would require her to reveal the name of the tribe and the location of the places she visited. Resolved to protect both, she opted to publish the work as fiction. This is a fascinating tale about everyday lives of a primitive people, a very exciting and interesting tale and worth the read.


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