In 1975, Ricky, a fourteen-year-old Caucasian boy from suburban Melbourne, escapes years of childhood abuse and hitch-hikes over four-thousand kilometres, to the town of Marble Bar, in the far Northwest of Western Australia.
With a morbid fear of aboriginal people, after being told by his abusive, racist, father that they are cannibals, he is found living in a cave, alone, by remnant members of the Nyamal tribe, a small group, still living a nomadic existence. They forcefully remove him from the cave and take him into the desert where he is raised in their ancient ways for five years.
Whilst there, he undergoes many sacred trials and rituals, along with learning the Nyamal dialect and customs, to become an official, initiated, Nyamal man at nineteen-years-old.
Written in flashbacks and based on fact, with some enhancements and name changes, the book contains many dangerous, exciting, frightening, romantic and sometimes comical adventures out in the harsh Australian desert. Striving to become a man, Ricky stumbles his way, spear in hand, clad in a loincloth, from one coming-of-age trial to the next under the watchful guidance of Uncle Ronny, the tribal Chief, and the other tribal elders.
He learns to hunt, read signs of nature in order to find the best places to gather food and where to find and collect fresh water from beneath the scorching desert sand.
The first in a trilogy, "The one they call Feral," also contains several, rarely heard, 67,000-year-old dreamtime stories and ancient tribal practices and language.
Anyone, but particularly those who have been through, or are going through, hardship in the lives will benefit from reading this book as proof that a hard childhood doesn't necessarily mean it can't be overcome with tenacity, courage and a little help where needed.
Rhonda L. Marusak
5.0 out of 5 starsSpellbinding Memoir
March 2, 2019
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A must read for anyone with a sense of adventure and survival. This book was written by a man whose childhood was plagued by the most several forms of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. As a young, and terribly underweight teen, he escaped his "home" in Melbourne and trekked thousands of miles into the heart of Aboriginal lands. There he lived in a cave as a feral child until he was adopted into a Native tribe in Marble Bar. These people, whose traditions were left untouched for thousands of years, redeemed his tortured body and soul. They taught him their customs, language, and ways. It was with his new family that he learned what it meant to be a real man. Delightfully penned, this book is entertaining, funny and heartbreaking all at once. "The One They Call Feral" will leave a lasting impression on your mind and heart.
5.0 out of 5 stars Australian child is taken in by native Aborigines living in the desert.
March 3, 2019
Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of my all-time favorite books. It's a true story by the feral boy himself. Walu ran away from a harsh home and ended up living in a cave, where he was found by a tribe of Aborigines. It's amazing how he was able to adapt to their way of life. I suspect his natural sense of humor had a lot to do with it. After he passed the tribe's manhood tests, he was still happy there and considered himself one of the tribe.
Then, the Australian government stole the desert land where his tribe had always lived. Not because they had a use for it, but only to control members of the tribe, I think, and force them into their idea of civilization, breaking up families and friends in the process. All the tribe members were sent away to cities , where they were mostly miserable. Walu lived with the tribal chief and others, all in the backyard of an understanding woman.
I'm hoping for a sequel. :)
marival Bayles5.0 out of 5 starsThe story of an unbreakable spirit March 22, 2019 Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase'The One They Call Feral' is a story about a remarkable boy named Ricky who survived extreme sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of his father (old man) and his father's boss. The old man was a powerful man in his community which allowed him to get away with extreme child abuse and neglect. Poor little Ricky spent most of his childhood locked up in his room or at the hospital. He didn't learn how to write until he was fourteen. It wasn't until he ran away and was adopted by the Nyamel Aborigines in Marble Bar that he found true kindness, love, laughter and wisdom. The tribe's chief, Uncle Ronny, and Aunt Vic taught him about manhood lore. I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed.MariVal Bayles
Reviewed by Deborah Kammer
This book is amazing! It will capture your heart, tells one things we should know about our Australian culture, both from the Ancestors, our Aboriginal peoples and its white history. A young boy grows up in a horror environment, abused and neglected, escapes at fourteen and makes his own way in a merciless country environment until found by an Aboriginal tribe. The rest for you to find out, Feral found life in differing situations and finally found love. REALLY a book worth reading ,,, and should be found on every Australian's book-shelf or kindle. The story has international appeal in its humanity, courage and how one man, with much to be bitter about, maintains his own self integrity, dignity and kindness. I highly recommend this book. Please let your friends know. Just released,