The Book Reviews

Canvas: Weekend Herald

Presents with a great future, 9 December 2006

“Outstanding memoir by Fiu, a Samoan who came to Auckland with his family when he was five. Written with verve and humour, Purple Heart is a revelation.” (more…)

The Listener – Best Books

David Eggleton, 9 December 2006

“The early part of his autobiography is redolent both with memories of a Ponsonby childhood and the culture shock of adjusting to a new way of life. His touch is light – and though sometimes wry, he’s never self pitying; rather, he celebrates the human comedy.” (more…)

The Listener

David Eggleton, 12 – 18 August 2006

“In Purple heart, Ta’afuli Andrew Fiu offers what is at once an often comic memoir of body consciousness, an account of coping with an erratic, prematurely weakened circulatory system, and an affirmative essay on how his life-long struggle against an ever-looming total eclipse of the heart has helped concentrate his mind. In the end, Fiu’s autobiography … in tracing personal turmoil his touch is light, and though some times very wry, he’s never self-pitying; rather, he celebrates the human comedy.” (more…)

North and South Magazine

Warwick Roger, August 2006

“This is a delightful little memoir by an extraordinary man who has undergone five open-heart operations. It’s also a story about migration, courage, racism, traditional values versus modern ways and about the love of the extended family…. Ta’afuli Andrew Fiu is an interesting new voice and I hope he has more than one book in him”.  (more…)

Canvas: Weekend Herald

Philippa Jamieson, 5 August 2006

“If you need confirmation that the heart is the wellspring of love and courage, this book is it. Purple Heart is the engaging, warm and funny story of a Samoan boy growing up in South Auckland… The author invites us to see the world through his Samoan eyes, with a perspective that is honest and egalitarian. Take this book to someone in hospital; it could be just what the doctor ordered.” (more…)

Air New Zealand Magazine

August 2006

“Growing up Samoan in 1960s Ponsonby and South Auckland was always going to have its difficulties, but Ta’afuli Andrew Fiu’s adolescence was vastly complicated by rheumatic fever… Despite his trials he has retained an irrepressible good humour. Fiu relates his experience of police raids, hospital wards, marriage, fatherhood and selling advertising space with a fizzy joy that makes every page of his memoir a delight.” (more…)

City Mix Magazine

Mary de Ruyter, August 2006

“Purple Heart is a very readable chronicle of Andrew’s time in and out of hospitals, his life to date, the inspiring people he met, the racism encountered, and of growing up Samoan in Auckland. It’s culturally illuminating, often philosophical, and endearingly honest.” (more…)

The Ponsonby News

August 2006

“It’s an account of appalling racism and an insight into the inter-generational tensions in Pacific Island migrant families. It’s a testimony to deep friendship, boundless love, determination and courage, written with grace, love and bucketloads of humour.” (more…)

Tearaway Magazine

Erena Hodgkinson, August 2006

“When you’re brought up in Samoa with one tap of running water for nine families, you tend to count your blessings. When you’re a new immigrant to Auckland in the hazy 1970’s, you give the counted blessings pet names. And when you’re diagnosed with a condition that would lead to multiple life-threatening heart operations, you would wonder where on earth those blessings were. Not Andrew Fiu. The 40-year-old author of new autobiography Purple Heart, lays bare the gritty details of his life with unbridled humour and compassion.” (more…)


Scotty Stevenson, 6 August 2006

“Purple Heart is the memoir of an extraordinary life… Mostly though, this is a book of great humour … Grab a copy of Purple Heart – it’s an honest and often emotional account of a life very much less ordinary … But most of all this a story of courage – a timeless tale of how a young fella grew to be a man under the most trying of circumstances.” (more…)

Tearaway Teacher Magazine

Amanda Bond, August 2006

“This is one of my favourite reads of the year. Memorable, thought provoking, engaging – this is the memoir of a heart… He explains that she (his heart) is “the one who deserves acknowledgement for valour, who deserves gratitude and any other praise anyone reading this book may want to bestow upon her.” I do indeed praise Andrew’s heart – physical and figurative.” (more…)

Spasifik Magazine

Innes Logan, July/August 2006

“With the seductive humour of a Samoan story teller, Andrew Fiu’s first writing effort is one that should not go unnoticed. Purple Heart is a fitting title for a book that should be recognised for its bravery, resilience and effort at honesty…once you pick it up, you too will be devoured by its rich texture and will not be able to put it down … To Andrew Fiu and your Purple Heart, I commend you.” (more…)