Let us consider the books alongside one another for a moment:
|Island of the Aunts||Memo for a Saner World|
|- Written for Children|
- Clearly links the characters actions with consequences
|- Written for Green Party members|
- A mixture of political propaganda, socialist rhetoric, and half-remembered fact
- Blames abstract entity called 'the market' for just about everything.
Although on the surface the two books may seem identical, this is not really the case. While one book contains a number of insane characters with dysfunctional personalities, who cannot recognise the obvious difference between myth and reality. Eva Ibbotson's book, on the other hand, remains largely free of politicians. One book inspires you with hope and confidence in the resilience of imagination, ingenuity, and the human spirit. By contrast, Bob Brown's book isn't nearly so enjoyable.
Of course, reading these two books concurrently, or nearly concurrently - as I did - can lead to some confusion between the musings of Bob Ibbotson and the reflections of Eva Brown. Let us, for a few moments, indulge in some close analysis of the texts in order to deepen our confusion. "Island of the Bobs", then, opens with a discussion about the blockade of the Franklin River in the 1980s and ends with the appearance of 'The Kraken', a creature who eats John Howard live before setting the world's ecosystem to rights. By contrast, "Memo for a Saner Aunt" opens with three Aunts lilving together on a desert island who decide to kidnap some children. Later, the kidnapped children are set to work helping animals, planting trees, signing petitions, performing sit-down protests in the Tarkine Forest, and interrupting speeches by foreign dignitaries in the Australian Parliament.
In the end, however, it's silly to talk about these books in the second-hand when the books themselves can do just that: speak about themselves, in the second-hand. Let me read you two quotes from the book. I have made a few minor editorial changes for greater clarity:
From Ibbotson's book: or is it Browns?
But he wouldn't put on any clothes. None of them would put on any clothes.
"I'm afraid you must take us as you find us. This is the nudist colony; we believe most strongly that our Creator wants us to keep our bodies open to the air and light.
Long ago I ceased to believe in religious dogma. What I do see is the continual unfolding of the human spirit, or consciousness, and an awareness greater than that in any other creature on earth. The universe, through us, is evolving towards experiencing, understanding and making choices about its future. We are the universe thinking.
In fact, we would be grateful if you too would take off your clothes. It is a rule of the island that no-one who comes here keeps his skin muffled in unhealthy garments.
From Brown's book (or did I mean Ibbotson)?
"Each generation has moved a little closer to being us. We, in turn, will die in order to allow the species evolve through future generations.
That way, we can choose the ones who are suitable," said Aunt Etta. She was the eldest - a tall, bony woman who did fifty press-ups before breakfast and had a small but not at all unpleasant moustache on her upper lip.
"The alternative to death is for you and I never to have existed. Death is life's bargain."
So, as I was saying, despite the superficial difference, deep down these two books share a huge similarity: Eva Ibbotson's "Island of the Aunts" is far, far superior to Bob Brown's "Memo for a Saner World". If you doubt the political, grammatical, or logical nature of my assessment there, just read the books. And by 'the books', plural, I mean 'Eva Ibbotson's books'; she's good. No need to worry so much about the collected musings of Bob Brown.
This book has been read by almost every Green Party member across the country.
This book should be.