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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
The Pelican by M. Naidoo tells the story of a young woman named Julia who receives the devastating news that she has terminal cancer. Only too aware of the terrible pain and anguish her mother had been through, having suffered the same condition, Julia vows to deal with her condition in her own way. Leaving her family behind, who are unaware of her condition and intentions, she stays in a beach house where she unwillingly receives support from neighbours, and from a strangely friendly pelican. Whilst her family frantically try to find her, Julia examines her life, her decisions, and reflects on happier times.
This is a very emotional piece of writing, and one needs a box of tissues nearby, especially at the end. Each character is believable and the author, M. Naidoo, has used the strategy of dealing with each character’s thoughts and emotions in separate chapters, which works well. Julia’s decision to leave without telling her family seems somewhat selfish and callous at first, but as the story progresses the reader is led to understand the reasons behind such a decision, and Julia’s character becomes more appealing to the reader. Her relationship with the pelican, who becomes her confidante, is an unusual and mysterious addition which adds an additional angle to the story. The writing is superb and holds so much emotion that this reader was led to wonder if it was a true life experience being relating by the main protagonist. But as the author states, it is a work of fiction.