The Other side of paradise

The Other side of paradise by Margaret Mayhew is a light read. Set just prior and during the fall of Singapore, the novel tells the story of well-to-do-privileged Susan Roper and her family. Susan lives in a colonial bubble enjoying pretty clothes, parties, socialising and flirting with young lads and frequent marriage proposals. She meets a young Australian doctor who attempts to warn Susan and her family to flee Singapore whilst they can, but like many they naively believe the British have Singapore safely guarded. When the Japanese invade and Singapore falls, Susan finds she must quickly toughen up and adapt to survival mode. She learns to become an ambulance driver and is later captured by the Japanese and becomes a prisoner of war. What follows is a gentle look and light recounting of P.O.W. life. The book is mildly entertaining, a quick read and despite covering such a horrendous subject it does not get bogged down in gruesome descriptions of the extreme conditions.