Hum If You Don't Know the Words

Hum If You Don't Know the Words

Book - 2017
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Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband's death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred--until the Soweto Uprising, when a protest by black students ignites racial conflict and alters the fault lines on which their society is constructed. It shatters their worlds when Robin's parents are left dead and Beauty's daughter goes missing. After Robin is sent to live with her loving but irresponsible aunt, Beauty is hired to care for Robin while continuing the search for her daughter. In Beauty, Robin finds the security and family that she craves, and the two forge an inextricable bond through their deep personal losses. But Robin knows that if Beauty finds her daughter, Robin could lose her new caretaker forever, so she makes a desperate decision with devastating consequences. Her quest to make amends and find redemption is a journey of self-discovery in which she learns the harsh truths of the society that once promised her protection.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2017
ISBN: 9780399575068
Branch Call Number: Fiction Mar
Characteristics: 420 pages ; 24 cm


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Jan 27, 2018

A good read and perspective on apartheid.

archreads Jan 09, 2018

Set in South Africa during apartheid, this a wonderful novel of the 1976 Soweto Uprising.
It is told from the perspective of a nine year old white girl and also from a 50 year old Xhosa woman. Really interesting - great debut novel.

Dec 18, 2017

Good coming of age story of a 9 yr old girl in South Africa in the 1970's during Apartheid. Told from 2 POVs - 9 yr old Robin and Beauty, the Xhosa woman who becomes her caretaker. The author did a great job of bringing Robin to life, flaws and all. Seeing the world thru her 9 yr old eyes was entertaining. Her and Morrie's interpretation of things they saw and heard was amusing. Beauty's search for her missing daughter is the more serious side of the book. A nice blend of humor, sadness, love and a little mystery. Really enjoyed these characters and their story.

Nov 14, 2017

I loved this one. It grabbed me right from the first page. Can't wait to read her next book.

jabberbooky Nov 13, 2017

Two characters from very different worlds, a young white girl and a black woman, whose lives become intertwined. A fabulous debut!

VaughanPLMeena Oct 11, 2017

If you’re looking for the next read for your book club, look no further! This is a heart-wrenching story about unlikely friendships that are formed amid political upheaval and social injustice in South Africa. The complexity of the characters and their struggles will provide you with more than enough to discuss with your club.

ehbooklover Sep 03, 2017

I couldn't stop reading this beautifully written book. I absolutely loved both Robin and Beauty. Their characters are wonderfully fleshed out and their emotional journeys are told using a bit of humour to offset the sadness and serious themes of their story. An amazing read!


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