How do we each define our own intimate culture?
How do we know where we belong?
Daughter of New Zealand Baptist missionaries, Patricia Booth was born in north-east India during World War Two, just as the Allies' "forgotten army" fought desperately 250 kilometres away in Kohima to stop the Japanese from invading Assam. She attended school in Darjeeling in the Himalayas until the age of 16.
As an 11 year old she lived for a year in Feilding in the Manawatu while her parents were "at home on furlough" as they put it. She felt like a foreigner.
In recording her childhood memories, she has pondered on the various cultural influences she experienced. How have they shaped her understanding of who she is and where she belongs as she enters old age?
Her most valuable resource has been the 200 letters she wrote from boarding school to her parents over more than ten years which illustrate her development. Many of the letters are reproduced in this book. They have reminded her of the richness and complexity of her childhood.
Praise for Pat's India
"I found Pat's India both engaging and informative. Reading it sent me off to the bookshelves to find her mother, Catharine Eade's autobiography In Heavenly Love Abiding. Read together the two books complement and complete each other.
Pat's India is revelatory in important ways, casting light on the purposes and organisational arrangements of the missionary enterprise, on her parents, the missionaries, as real people with individual personalities and on the costs and rewards of being a family in the mission field.
Importantly, it is that rare thing a child's view, reporting from the inside on growing up and moving between two cultures. The self reflections of the last chapter are a thoughtful and thought provoking contribution to the growing literature on third culture kids."
Joan Metge, New Zealand social anthropologist,
educator and writer
"I could see a range of audiences - great for intermediate age kids doing social studies type projects, great for teachers who have kids from other cultures in their class; great for people researching and writing various kinds of histories, e.g. about the role of "religious colonisation" versus the social support and skills building provided by the missionaries, culture, race and social class etc. There's no end to it.
I learnt stuff too - I hadn't realised the Japanese activity in Burma had such an impact on its neighbours during the war - pretty obvious when you think about it.Nor did I know about the Bengal famine. This kind of book has got to be good for all sorts of people."
Alison Gray - author and social researcher
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About the Author
In 1965 she married Graham Booth and they brought up four children.
Pat has worked mainly in the not-for-profit sector and in 1990 was appointed a Justice of the Peace. Pat's India is a companion volume to her mother's autobiography In Heavenly Love Abiding: memoirs of a missionary wife by Catharine Eade, published posthumously in 2005.