Child of the River by Irma Joubert


Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

child-of-the-riverChild of the River by Irma Joubert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

They were fighting for survival, she knew. Because their complexions were dark, their religion considered heathen, their traditions unfamiliar.
Had she been foolish to take on this battle?

Growing up as a poor, white daughter of sharecroppers in South Africa during World War II, it seems that Pérsomi will have few options in life. When an unexpected chance at education opens up to her, it brings her into a new world of possibilities. But at this time of heightening social unrest in her country, her new world may be a difficult place to make a difference in Child of the River, a novel by author Irma Joubert.

Pérsomi is an intelligent heroine full of quiet yearning, and my favorite parts of the story are when her simple, unlikely courage comes to the fore. She has a heart for seeking justice, and for better or for worse, that heart is put to the test in the face of apartheid. Also, as I’ve read a number of novels that deal with WWII, it was interesting to observe some effects of the war from Pérsomi’s part of the globe.

However, when it came to much of her personal life, I found the novel pretty hard to read. Yes, any strong story needs some sort of believable conflict, challenge, or adversity from which to create a plot. But when a book starts to feel like a downer overall, it usually isn’t my cup of tea. It seems this story goes from generally sober, then to gloomy, and then to downright depressing, without enough moments of light or fire to balance it out for me. Once I reached the end of the book, I wasn’t quite sure if the conclusion was a natural outcome or if it was something to placate me, more or less, after all the gloom.

Still, admiring and relating to this flawed but able heroine kept me intrigued enough to stick with her story.


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