An exciting family adventure defying gender stereotypes, Thora Moffat
March 22, 2022
Night Race to Kawau is a story about trusting in yourself and others as well as learning to empathise and appreciate everyone.
Set in the early 1980’s this book is about the Starr family, Sam, Jane Jeremy, Mum and Dad as they sail the new and exciting night race on their boat the Arataki to Kawau Island.
When dad is out of action due to an unfortunate accident, Sam and her mother must work together to help their family. This timeless book is a realistic fiction that portrays difficulties in a time of crisis and adapting as well as learning to work together as a team and to trust each other.
This book is aimed at readers around 10+ years, as when you get older it has deeper meaning. The great portrayal of family dynamics and character development shown through the point of view of Sam, the oldest child, as she struggles to trust her mother and stay calm. The plot unfolds well, with a slow start then builds up pace through the middle until all is resolved.
The writing generally has a light tone although it’s sometimes panicked and stressed, as the emotions of the character are displayed. Although it is set in the 1980’s it really is timeless and doesn’t feel too old fashioned. A lot of technical language is used throughout the book, sometimes making it difficult to understand if you do not know your way around boats, however it is generally well explained and there is a glossary in the back to refer to.
I think this is a very good book. The suspense is well done, and it is interesting throughout. Although it does start slow and a little tedious, it soon gets more exciting and suspenseful. It is well explained and detailed and the characters have depth and a clear personality to them.
Night Race to Kawau is also about defying gender stereotypes. Sam and her mother end up having to sail the boat alone and don’t want to ask for help. As mum says, “simply I should count my blessings that I’m lucky enough to have a husband who wants to take his family along.”
This shows that women were often left behind to look after their kids as the men went off to do something such as sailing. The story also proves that you don’t know if you are good at something until you try it. When Sam gets overwhelmed by all that is going on and starts to feel underappreciated and overlooked, she carries on and succeeds.
Overall, I would recommend this book as it was relatively well paced and showed a great story about a Kiwi family learning to trust each other. I enjoyed reading it as it was quite an easy read but still gripping. A well written classic New Zealand story.
- Thora is 14 years old and lives in Nelson.