Irma Joubert rose quickly to one of the authors that is a must read with her book The Girl From the Train. She has solidified that place with her second – to English- book Child of the River. Her style of writing is not one that I would recommend for other authors, but is sure works for her.
Child of the River is set during the time in South Africa that caused the rise of Apartheid. We meet Persomi, she is a quiet child, that deals with difficult situations by running away to “her” mountain. She is the middle child of a dirt poor sharecropper family. They survive on what they can scratch out of the unforgiving land and what they can beg from the main house. Persomi’s father takes any money that is earned and pours it down his throat. Nothing about her life is easy.
When her family comes under the scrutiny of the welfare people and her small world falls apart, Persomi’s life is changed forever. What opens up instead is a world at large. She suddenly has a future that she never dreamed of and isn’t sure she can handle.
I know personally it took a while for me to warm up to Persomi, but as I learned her story I understood her more and more. I find myself rooting for her in many different situations that life hands her. She doesn’t always make the right decisions, but works with what she knows and understands. We get to watch her grow and learn about herself and others and become a strong women because of it.
Because of the time of history this book is set in, it made for an interesting to time to be reading it. I was reading just before the election and was finishing it as the election was finishing up. I am not going to comment on the winners or losers in the election, but this book reminded me that as citizens we must stand in the gap between a government who is overstepping and others who are not able to defend themselves.
A very interesting read, one that will not leave you comfortable with how easy it was for people to join a bandwagon movement even when they knew it was wrong. I can hardly wait until Irma’s next book releases.