One day a man from the government arrives. He tells the islanders they will have to leave their home.
The Island tells the story of the forced resettlement of the “Island” across the bay to another island with electricity and telephones, cars and roads. The community is not named intentionally to represent the many communities that were told by the government that they had to be resettled. They were not given a choice. Some floated their houses across the bay; others just left everything behind and took only those things they could carry in a boat. In spite of the advantages of their new island, the hearts of the people remain with their first island home.
Doody captures what resettlement meant to the people involved. She captures the simple idyllic life on the island the settlers knew as home. Everyone knew everyone, and there was a sense of neighbours and community, and then Doody contrasts this with the new island. She talks about how, in the beginning, some would return to the island for a short visit or to take their sheep for grazing and how the abandoned houses slowly caved in until only the foundations remained. Doody concludes fittingly by pointing out that, in spite of the electricity and telephones, cars and roads, the islanders still long for their home and returning, even if it is only in their dreams.
A must-read for all ages, The Island captures a glimpse of the past that needs to be shared and remembered.
Christina Pike, the retired principal of Macdonald Driving Junior High, St. John’s, lives in Paradise, Newfoundland.