Colin Thiele (1920 - 2006) was bilingual, living in a German farming community in Australia. He went to the University of Adelaide, and after graduating, served as a radar mechanic with the RAAF in Northern Australia during the Second World War. He began teaching in Port Lincoln in 1946, and he combined his teaching with his prolific writing. He wrote and edited over 100 books, most of which are set in South Australia.
Colin Thiele was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the 1950s, and his experience with this informs Jodie’s Journey. Jodie is a successful rider, until she is suddenly stricken down with mystery pains in her joints. Her struggle to even get a diagnosis, let alone live with the condition, is not an easy read, but it undoubtedly has the ring of truth. There are no easy answers or miraculous cures for Jodie, as I suspect there weren’t for Colin Thiele. The book is an excellent read. It stays with you. It was one of the books of which Thiele was most fond, saying it was one in which he came closest to getting it right.
Colin Thiele was also well known as an environmentalist, and wrote several books about endangered Australian locations. In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to literature and education.
Finding the books: Pitch is tricky; the others reasonably easy.
Illustrated with photographs, the story of a young girl’s dream of having a pony.
Pitch the Pony Rigby, Adelaide, 1984 (?)
Jodie’s Journey Walter McVitty, Glebe, 1988 Harper & Rowe, New York, 1990
Jodie is a really promising rider, and everything in her life seems set fair. Then she is felled by the demon that is rheumatoid arthritis. Nothing will be the same again: there are no easy answers, and no fairy tale solutions for Jodie.