This vivid memoir by well-known New Zealand actor and novelist Barbara Ewing covers her tumultuous childhood, adolescence and young-adulthood in Wellington and Auckland in the 1950s and early 1960s — a very different time — and ends in 1962, when she boards a ship for London, to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It draws heavily on the diaries she kept from the age of twelve, which lead her to some surprising conclusions about memory and truth. Ewing struggled with what would now be diagnosed as anxiety; she had a difficult relationship with her brilliant but frustrated and angry mother; and her decision to somehow learn Maori drew her into a world to which few Pakeha had access. A love affair with a young Maori man destined for greatness was complicated by society’s unease about such relationships, and changed them both. Evocative, candid, brave, bright and darting, this entrancing book takes us to a long-ago New Zealand and to enduring truths about love.