Child of the River by Irma Joubert (review by Cathy)


About the book:

Persomi’s dreams are much bigger than the world of poverty and deprivation that surround her in the Bushveld of the 1940s and 1950s in South Africa.

Persomi is young, white and poor, born the middle child of illiterate sharecroppers on the prosperous Fourie farm. Persomi’s world is extraordinarily small. She has never been to the local village and spends her days absorbed in the rhythms of the natural world around her. Her older brother, Gerbrand, is her lifeline and her connection to the outside world. When he leaves the farm to seek work in Johannesburg, Persomi’s isolated world is blown wide open. But as her very small world falls apart, bigger dreams become open to her—dreams of an education, a profession, and of love. As Persomi navigates the changing world around her—the tragedies of WWII and the devastating racial strife of her homeland—she finally discovers who she truly is and where she belongs.

A compelling coming of age story with an unlikely and utterly memorable heroine, Persomi’s English language publication solidifies Irma Joubert’s important place in the canon of inspirational historical fiction.

My review (5-stars)

What an incredible journey the author took me on this book. From the setting of South Africa and the time of the second World War, its rich in history and the characters lived on in my heart after I finished reading Child of the River.   Irma Joubert is fast becoming one of my favorite authors as her writing makes me really think of the hardships faced by so many.

I hadn’t heard the term,” bywoner” before and discovered it means sharecropper.  That’s the life that Persomi is born into and one that she longed to escape.  She and her family were filled with despair and it was heartbreaking but, the story is told quite beautifully and I didn’t want to stop reading.

The family had such a difficult life and the things that happened at times seemed unimaginable.  The conditions they lived in were horrific to me and I found myself rooting for Persomi to realize her dreams of making a better life for herself.  I loved her story and her determination.  I wanted nothing but success for her and felt like I was right beside her every step of the way.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.




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