I love books, and have just discovered the Library!

I prefer to buy my own books.  I browse bookstores for hours, I can hang around kalahari.net like a troll for hours and choose books.  I love reading almost as much as I love finding and purchasing books.

Having a birthday or other festival and hoping for a gift – expect a book if I have anything to do with it??

I have tried libraries. I have found, in the past, that libraries do not like me.  I can read a book in a day, but the moment you apply pressure to me that I must read a book by a particular date/time then it is like the kiss of death.  Then I develop reader’s block and I miss the 2 week deadline, and next thing I am receiving window envelopes from the library reminding me of the cost of replacing the clutch of books I have been holding for 4 months and change.

I have been “expelled” from too many libraries to count, and that is fine as I love buying books, so have just had to rethink grocery shopping to allow the bulk of the money for bread and snacks to go towards books. Easy enough.  So now I buy books, and then I buy groceries with the money that is left.

Sorry kids, no horse riding lessons or braces this year, Mommy needs to buy books.

I went along to Bellville Library and was AMAZED by how large and well stocked the library was.  I stood on the blue industrial carpet and clapped and squeaked like a demented seal amazed.

The real prize for me, was that they have Audio Books. I love Audio Books, and if you have ever tried to buy any you will realise it is cheaper just to pay someone R60.00 an hour to read the book to you, slowly!

Audio book are ridiculously expensive.  And Bellville library have a ton of them.  I joined the library and was so proud when they handed my little laminated card over to me. It was like keys to the chocolate factory.

I have been wanting to read “Company of Liars” by Karen Maitland – it is a real block of a book and every time I pick it up for some reason I just cannot get started on it.

It is set around the 1348 Plague in England.  Excellent book, but a reading commitment.  But no more – I picked up the Audio Book – 16 CD set of unabridged version, and I have been listening to it in the car for the last two weeks.  Brilliant, brilliant – well read, enthralling story, and I get to listen to this instead of listening to the radio.

And the “hidden benefit” is that the kids go quiet when they get in car so they can listen to it — no screaming, no fighting, we all sit in silence listening to an audio book.  It has made me look at collecting the kids from school with an entirely new enthusiasm, and especially if you add the fact that I run the car heater on MAXIMUM.

Warm car + a person reading you a book.  Heaven freaking heaven!!  With my library card, I get to take out books, audio books, movies and CDs – I am so delighted with this find.  Well done City of Cape Town for a rocking Library system.

{above image with actual book title “When Did Wild Poodles Roam the Earth?” by David Feldman ……. I am so hooked, so expect me to drop pearls of wisdom quite soon}

Little Face ….

I have read two books from Sophie Hannah and they were brilliant.  She writes brilliantly, and the best thing about her books is that “I don’t see it coming.”

I have been wanting to read “Little Face by Sophie Hannah” for some how never seem to see the book at a bookstore.  I saw a copy yesterday at my local “cheap and cheerful” bookstore and grabbed it. Cost R59.50.

Started reading it yesterday, and to say it was briliant would be a key understatement.

The short of it {no spoil alert needed} is a first time mom, Alice, gives birth to her baby following a complicated labour, and an emergency caesarian section.

Within the first two weeks of Alice being home with her new daughter Florence, she walks in to the nursery and a nightmare presents itself.

The baby lying in the cot is not Florence.  It is not the daughter Alice delivered. Alice is trying to convince her husband, her mother in law, and the police that her baby is missing, this usurper is not her Florence.

Cheese and vegetables, this is a great book.  I am not going to give anything away, except that this is a chilling, fast paced book.

Before you know it you are swept up in this gripping story.  The characters are a bit two dimensional, and I did feel the “police backstory” took away from the main story – and the characters were a bit extreme to be realisic, but this withstanding, it is still a great read.

Short’ish book – 357 pages, so you can kick it in a day or two and once you throw yourself in to it, you will tend to stop eating. drinking, using the shower until you have finished this book.

I dropped the kids off this morning, and had the book in my bag.  I had the last 27 pages to read, and I parked outside of Isabelle’s school after I dropped her off, and sat in my car absolutely soaking up this book.

Yike a doodle, it is a good one.

We need to talk about Kevin …

I read this book several years ago in book club.

Actually it was me who brought the book to bookclub.  I liked the book jacket, and I liked the blurb.

What I did not like was that it was written in first person and in a diary entry format.   And once I flipped through the book, I was reluctant to read it.

The result was it lay in book club, and no one touched it.  Finally I picked it up – like an unloved child – took it home with the other 4 or 5 books, and thought: “I might get to it if I have a gap ….”

I read the book …once I had got past the first few pages, and the character of Eva, the mom started to unfold, I was gripped.  She was the quintessential “reluctant” mother, and strangely I started to see certain aspects of me in her, which made the story feel more familiar.

The story strongly debates the age-old argument of nature versus nurture.

Did Eva’s lack of affection for her son shape him into the sociopath he was to become – or was his fate predetermined from birth?  Could she have “saved” him by being a better mother?  And what makes a mother, better, if you just don’t have the maternal gene?

The book looks back on Kevin’s life, his mother, Eva describes her coldness toward her son and his strange behaviours, in gripping detail.

The book does not open with a sucker punch, but slowly starts to unfold.  The entire time you are not quite sure what to make of the characters – so you reserve judgement, or at least try to.

Eva starts to question if her son is normal.  She sees and experiences him and something in her starts to question him.  Her son is alert and intelligent, and even as a toddler soon starts to get the upper hand in the relationship.

She is a first time mom, and totally out of her depth, so she is not sure if she is making assumptions because she is inexperienced, or because there is really something just a bit off about Kevin.

The book was TRULY brilliant.  Even years on, it is still one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books I have ever read.  It was a story that really sat with me, long after I had handed the book back to bookclub.

No matter how many books I read, and I do read several, this one still tips the scales as being the story that just sits with me.

I am not suggesting it is an enjoyable read.  It is very unsettling, but the characters feel real and the author shapes this family so well, that you can’t help finding yourself lost in the fiction.  .

I heard there is a movie coming out soon-soon, which I believe is brilliant, so very keen on going to see that.

If you are going to see the movie, try to read the book before you buy popcorn and a move ticket …..

We Need to Talk About Kevin

A Novel by Lionel Shriver

2003 / 400 Pages

Alice in Wonderland …

I finished reading the original Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

I have not researched Lewis Carroll, and do not know his lot in life, but I can only assume that Lewis was not your normal run of the mill lad in the late 19th century.

I think even by today’s standards if he came out with this little gem, people might have tapped the glass on the side of his medicated syringe, and said soothing things like “It will be alright Lewis … just have a little sleep…” and then given him a large shot of anti-psychotic straight into his neck.

The most memorable part for me – and no doubt if I read it again, I would find another nugget to take with me – Alice meeting the Duchess.

The Duchess’s baby sneezes constantly and the reaction of the Duchess.  One can only conclude he has probably suffered quite a bit at the Duchess’s hands. Taking pity on him, Alice spirits him away, only to find that he has transformed into a pig.

It is never explained why this happens, but Alice looks on the bright side, concluding that while the baby wasn’t a very attractive baby, it makes for a good-looking pig.

I enjoyed the story.  I do not think it is something I would read to a child and then try to explain it.  I may well end up trying to explain this one for longer than the actual story progresses.

Makes me feel that maybe I am a bit more sane than Lewis, which is great if you are in people-who-are-nuttier-than-you mode.

I do love the Tim Burton movie – probably one of my favourite movies.  I adored Johnny Depp as the MadHatter in it and the divine Helena Bonham was fantastic as the Queen.  But it is one of those things you watch, and just try not to wrap your mind around too tightly.  Because then your head starts to hurt.

I probably liked the representation of the Cheshire Cat the least in Tim Burton’s movie – it was probably because for me he is such a strong character in the story, but I did not like the way he was represented/rendered in the movie.

The Cheshire Cat has so many great lines throughout the book (and the movie), one of the ones I like the most are:  “Every adventure requires a first step. Trite, but true, even here.”

I saw this cartoon by the brilliant SeeMikeDraw and thought it was a suitable alternate outcome to the trials and tribulations of young Alice …

Acknowledge image source: http://seemikedraw.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/i-found-a-strange-bottle-labelled-drink-me-so-i-drank-it-when-i-awoke-id-drawn-this-cartoon/

Princess and the Penis ….. real book title …. honest

I like books, I really do.

Sometimes I read the odd book that is out of my genre of choice.

I love Alison Weir, Agatha Christie and Bill Bryson. I adore books about Sherlock Holmes and anything that deals with British Monarchy.  Right now I am reading a British Monarchy history dealing with the “War of the Roses” and also a Sherlock Holmes book.

Kennith suggests reading British Monarchy History it is like watching ENews, but with Lindsay Lohan as the Village Tramp and Paris Hilton as Queen Anne …. I don’t disagree.

But I find history books quite enthralling, and I do understand why other people fog over when I tell them about the plot, so I tend not to blab about my books too much …. any more.

<I also like movies set in World War II for some reason … and I “enjoy” reading books that have the holocaust as a backdrop ….>

I once even read a Chelsea Handler book, so I do think I am pretty open-minded regarding books and ones I pick up and “try” even though some times good sense should intervene.

I draw the line at Jody Picoult (hate, really I do) and Sidney Sheldon (hate it more, probably the seventy-seven paragraphs rambling about the scenery) and my personal cringe is Danielle Steele.

I am not suggesting you do not read them, please do.  Buy as many of them as you can.  The more you purchase increases my luck of them being sold out, and then I do not have to see them on the shelves.

Possibility of pure joy moment.

Yesterday on Amazon under Kindle e-books I saw “The Princess and the Penis…” its a book, and it costs $0.99.

I went to look at the reviews, as I was not quite sure if I had read the title correctly or this was a case of a really bad typo.

But it appears it is quite an “enjoyable read…” and “fast paced….”

The product description is described as: A beautiful, chaste, and completely naive princess encounters a strange lump in  her mattress. The lump soon morphs into a shape familiar to everyone but her, triggering her curiosity and her father’s greatest fears. He frantically tries to intervene, but having a large phantom phallus in a curious maiden’s bed is never a good combination.

I loved this excerpt from the one reviewer, which really at the end of the day sums up many romance novels:

After reading about 14,952 romance novels, a few things become clear. No matter what the story is about–a duke, a werewolf, a football player, a Carpathian vampire, a steampunky swashbuckler, a baker, a lawyer, a candlestick maker, or even an Orca shapeshifter–the real star of the show is actually…the p*nis. Yes, this is in fact true. It gets tons of attention, pages and pages of highly detailed description, and often saves the day.

So that is it at then end of it all.

Princess Amelia and her lumpy mattress and the relationship she forms with the mattress.

I am not sure if you left me for 100 years with a pen and a sheet of paper, or a keyboard I would have come up with this particular slant on a rather aging-but-classic tale…

Now who amongst us had not woken up before with a lumpy mattress in our back?

I can’t say I feel like a Princess at the time, but there we go, time to shift your thinking…… or get a double bunk.

If you want to download the book on your Kindle, pop down to: http://www.amazon.com/The-Princess-the-Penis-ebook/dp/B005ORR6HE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319525373&sr=1-1#_

Hansel and Gretel – child services should have got involved earlier!

A discussion recently reminded me of how much I “enjoy” classic fairy tales.

I really get intrigued by‘traditional fairy tales’ and what we are teaching our kids when we read to them – or just the message that comes through.

I think I enjoy them more as an adult than I did as a child.  They are by far more interesting to me now.

To be honest I really do not think kids hear the stuff we hear in these tales.

We can have hours of conversation about subliminal messages – but really – I am more scared of clowns than I have ever been of wolves.

And clowns never featured in fairy tales.

I listened to fairy tales as a kid, and I can’t say I thought very hard about the troll under the bridge or how the wolf managed to eat the gran in one bite and then how the woodcutter could get her out, it all seemed quite ‘normal’.

The stories seemed to have the ingredients to make them exciting, with the good little girl/boy; the wolf who you know is going try and eat someone; the woodcutter, who always appears available to chop someone’s head off with one stroke of his large blade; the evil and mean stepmother; the good looking prince, who is always needing a wife – and happy to setlle for a commmoner.

The sense I get is that  middle century Europe must have been a very dark and foreboding place for “well meaning” adults to come up with these stories as bedtime tales for kids.

No doubt there was always an element of warning in them – to counsel children to remain on the path (Red Riding Hood strayed – but granted she had been sent a long distance by herself, through a dangerous forest.  Where were the protective adults in all of this I wonder?)

I was thinking about Hansel and Gretel.

Hansel and Gretel’s parents left them in the woods twice!

Hansel and Gretel returned home to them – knowing full well the same parents had purposefully abandoned them in the woods with the hope that they would get eaten by wolves or what ever else lives in the forest.

I mean exactly how many times do you have to leave a child nd they get lost before they really learn the lesson, and not come home?

I think the quick lesson here might be – do not go picnicing in a remote area with your parents.

If you have no other options, picnic, but do not fall asleep after lunch under any circumstances.  Kids, write that down!

Possibly this is why I fear camping.

Hansel and Gretel, awake – realize they have fallen for the same “let’s go for a picnic and abandon you “ trick.  Right there one must question about how much Omege 3 and 6 they were getting in their diet.

They stumble off to find the nearest gingerbread/sweetie house and start gnawing away at it.

Of course I wonder if a witch has the power to turn a house into edible confectionary, surely she can conjure up a child as a meal easily enough if she just popped off into the local village.

It does seem very complicated she would use such a ruse like a sweetie house, in the middle of the forest, where few people walk past to lure little kids in.

It just seems odd, and unlikely.

I think she must have had a huge ant problem.

Hansel is captured and the witch tries to fatten him up while using Gretel as a house slave.

I am not sure exactly what the “hidden message” is in this rather dark, yet popular fairy/folk tale.

Possibly it is optimism?

Hansel the little scoundrel, remains optimistic.

Though he has been abandoned twice.

Has been “captured” because he tried to eat a house, and he has been locked in a cage, and his sister is held as a prisoner and a servant –  but somehow our little scallywag manages to “trick” the witch that he is still
a bit skinny (in case you are not familiar with this part, it is because he  holds out a chicken bone when the witch asks him to put out his finger so she can judge if he has fattened up sufficiently for the pot).

This little guy perseveres.

Of course it does paint Gretel as being a total dunce – or at the very least a rather helpless little fraulein.

She managed not to do anything to really help the situation.

We know the old crone was blind – so really it would not take a genius to dig a hole and push her in, or say hit her  in the head with a chair and free her brother.  Agh, maybe it was the Stockholm Effect, or maybe the witch was particular cunning.

Gretel instead stands around rather helplessly while her  brother is in a cage.

But at some point there is a large fire and a witch involved (Gretel’s starring role incidently) – here again it seems to be okay for kids to not knock someone out, but to actually throw them in a fire, is encouraged.

No calling 911 here!!

The kids – who are really lost waifs who have been captured by a murdering cannibalistic maniac who lives in an edible house –  then manage to find an inordinate sum of gold (not sure exactly why the witch is living in a remote area of the forest if she has this much gold at her disposal…. but maybe she has a bit of OCD combined with some hoarding issues).

What do our little Hansel and Gretel do with it?

Dude, they head straight home to the parents who LEFT THEM ALONE IN THE WOODS ON PURPOSE twice.

Of course the question is, if they  could find their way home then, how come they did not do it after the picnic – when they were lost the second time and had probably walked to the spot in the woods?  How long does one walk to a picnic spot before getting suspicious that your parents are going to leave you behind?

If I left my kids in the woods even by accident – even once – there would be nothing I could say to get them to go to the woods again.  Suggesting ANOTHER picnic, would really not fly with my lot.

I have no idea how Hansel and Gretel’s parents got them to go for the second time.

When the two finally get home they find out that the father was  so “heart wrenched” since he “purposefully lost them the second time” that he  has now abandoned the horrible step mother.

Fabulous – might have been good had he done that before he “agreed to lose” his kids for the second time.
Instead of agreeing to it.

But these kids are clearly forgiving.

Which really paints the father as a workless, pennyless, good-for-nothing dad, who is willing to abandon his kids for any woman who comes along, and who at the same time does not appear to make good judgments of women if he married a step mother who wanted to kill/abadon his kids.

Granted he does suffer some remorse.

But what really happened to that stepmother?

I think if the dad could “lose his kids at a picnic” there is a good chance that some “cadaver sniffing” dogs might find a few locations of interest around that log cabin.

I just think that from the beginning child services should have been involved after the first picnic.

These kids really need to be in some sort of therapy for their abandonment issues.

CSI needs to be called to check out the rest of witch’s cottage.  Clearly Hansel and Gretel weren’t her first crime, she seemed to have a taste for it, and it seemed well orchestrated.  Who has a cage in their kitchen, big enough for a child?

The only lesson I can pull out of this story is “stay optimistic even when Ted Bundy locks you up” and “if you ever get a pot of gold  run straight home to your parents and share it with them, no matter how shockingly they have treated you…”

That’s all I have out of this story.  Not sure if there is another moral there that is wasted on me?

Go the fuck to sleep ….

Finally a book that caters for the mother in me …. initially I thought this was one of those slightly clever photoshop things. 

Someone scanned in the original book in, edited the text a little, and then when it was really funny, saved the file and spammed it around a bit.

Lots of guffawing when you open the attachment, but we all know no one is actually going to say this out loud, let alone write it down, and find a publisher to publish it.

I mean really, where is the decency?

Being the sceptic that I am, I used the fine and not-undying art of google to look around and see where this came from.  True as nuts, there is the book and if you want the original you can pop along and purchase it at: http://gotheftosleep.com/

I have never heard of Adam Mansbach, but I can say that this book has peaked my interest in him and I might be looking a little closer at Adam from this point forward.

I see that Kalahari has this book available http://www.kalahari.net/books/Go-the-Fuck-to-Sleep/632/41300290.aspx June 2011, so I have added that on my wishlist, and pretty much anyone who is pregnant of having a babyshower in the next few months will be getting one of these books as a present.

Anyway, this file is doing the rounds, and in case you have not seen it here, are a few pages for you – how brilliant is this book?

The illustrations are so divine, and this is such a cool cool book for your mommy-and-baby collection ….

<for the record, five people saw this and sent it to me saying “when I saw this I immediately thought of you….”)

The Slap ……

I completed a really interesting book last night – The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas.

I got it from bookclub, and that was of course just after the slight sniffing and the rather judgmental statement of “it is never right to slap a child….”  That being said, I was first to grab this little beauty off the “new book” pile.

The basic premise of the book is this: an obnoxious four year old child does something faintly threatening at a family barbecue, and the father of the threatened child smacks the child. Everyone is so upset by this that the barbecue breaks up in a hurry, and within a day, the parents of the slapped child have the slapper arrested.  (there is no need for a spoil alert, as this is plastered on the book jacket as well)

On reading the jacket blurb your mind will immediately start thinking about how this person slapped this child, and what if it was your child, and then your cheeks will get red in anger. 

However then your mind will backtrack to the last time you were at the Spur, and you can think of at least three children (neither of them yours, or maybe one of them was) who you would have felt quite justified for standing up and slapping.

Actually it might even be fair to say you would get back into your car now, drive to the Spur and slap that child right now.

Each chapter of the book is written from a different person’s perspective.  Initially I thought it might be about how they each saw the event, but it is about how the event (the slap at the braai) effected these individuals in their lives after the event.  (pre-slap vs post-slap)

The really great thing about The Slap is that it cannot be neatly summarised. The book is about exploring the inner lives of these eight characters, four women and four men, ranging in age from 18 to 70. And each of these characters is a sharp observer of those around him or her, so many more lives are illuminated as well from a different characters perspective.

The book is not written from the standard American angle, of event, middle with lots of action and then closing where the good guy is vindicated.

The novel’s forward energy is unexpectedly overwhelming, you literally get sucked into the rather messy lives of these people, who at first glance seemed normal and ordinary.

You get to peek behind the facades and see how they are trying to keep their lives together while the sh&t is literally raining down on them.

No one is evil, no one deserves to be hit, or even judged negatively (but the reality is that we do judge, we might do it internally but we do judge).

Everyone means well, and everyone is doing the best he or she can; but then again, everyone is awfully angry, and everyone is just getting through thier days the best way they can.

I really enjoyed this book – it is not light and fluffy, but at the same time it is not a heavy brain drain either.  The characters and the flow is fast and furious  – I flew through this book, because I could not get enough of these people.

Excellent book!  (I dare you to judge the situation at the outset, like I did, and then review your judgment at the end, and realise that you have probably travelled a long road of understanding with these characters.)

Do I think it is right to slap a stranger’s child?  No.

Do I think that many parents do not adequately parent their children? Yes.

Do I think that many children become problems because they were not parented well, and did not learn the value of consequences? Yes.

Do I think Joan River’s show about her commenting on fashion on E Entertainment is hysterically funny?  Yes.

Is it correct to assume the last question has absolutely no relevance to the book? Yes.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

The blurb on the book reads:  “1939: Nazi Germany.  The country is holding its breath.  Death has never been busier.”

I think this book had tried to be introduced to my book club several times, and it kept getting bounced.

I personally wasn’t really putting my weight behind it to get it into book club either.  There was just something about the book that put me off reading it.  It might have been the fanfare regarding it – so many reviews had said it was a brilliant book and and and .. I started to feel pressure that this book was all hype and wow, but what if I read it and I did not like it.

The Life of Pi is my Achilles’ heel – that book strikes the fear of reading in to me.  I totally freeze when ever I pick it up and can’t get past chapter three.  The thing does not make sense, so I live in fear that there are more books out there that I might be too mentally slow to understand.

Rest assured, this is not one of those.  I took this book along with me when we did the Whale Trail earlier this year and I flew through this book in just over a day – it was gripping and brilliant.  At a certain point, I put it down as I did not want to it end.

The basic story is that Liesel, a nine year old girl is living with a foster family in Himmel Street.  It is in the midst of Nazi Germany.  You are either a Nazi supporter or find yourself off on a fully-paid holiday camp in Poland.

You get the sense that Liesel’s parents ticked the wrong block when being asked if they were communists and sadly disappeared from the story before even making an appearance.  So she ends up with the Hans and Rosa Hubermann – who seem to be Germans, but not quite Nazis.

Liesel is in this small town, pretty much everyone is dirt poor.  She is thrust into this family who are a bit strange but clearly love her, and express it in a variety of ways.

Liezel loves books and is not above a little stealing to get them.  It is one of those stories where what happens is not as important as how it makes you feel when it is happening.  The characters and how they react to an incident is what knits this story together.

I cried like a five year old when this book was finished, not only because it is so heart-wrenchingly sad, but because the characters and their emotions are so honest.  The story is so bitterly sweet it will stay with you long after you have closed this book and wiped your nose on your sleeve.

The magic of this story is quite simply the power of words to change people’s lives.  It is packed with grueling episodes of human cruelty and kindness, and the story is simple and will stay with you long after the tears have dried.

I really enjoyed this one.

The Well and the Mine – a novel by Gin Phillips

My book clubs is a conservative lot and when the opening line on the blurb for this book read “Carbon Hill, 1931: in a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches from the darkness of her back porch as a strange woman lifts the cover off the family well and tosses a baby in without a word.”

Right there it was decided that babies down wells do not make good reading for moms and moms to be, so the book got relegated to the pile not deemed suitable for selection.  Fortunately my friend Alice who was hosting is made of hardier stuff, and decided to veto the “communal” vote and purchased the book, which I quickly snatched up – good on you Alice.

I tend to run scared when I see a book has won an award or a prize (this one is the winner of the Barnes and Noble Discovery Prize).  I always think it’s going to be all pomp and flowery prose and far beyond my rather limited intellect,  but this book was brilliant and the characters quickly crept under my skin.

The Moore family, though very poor, grows food on their plot of land, so this saves them from the crippling poverty and near-starvation that besets their neighbours.

There is a strong current of community that serves this town.  The mines swallowing able men before light, spewing them back in the dark, coal-stained, to spend a few precious hours with their families.  In a home built on strong values, Leta and Albert Moore treasure their children.

This is a family nurtured on respect and hard work, the children basking in their parent’s solicitude and moral direction. It is this moral sense that confounds young Tess as she grapples with an unidentified woman’s motivation in tossing her child into the back porch well.

The book uses all five of the family’s members to unravel the tale in a mix of voices, each presenting their own take on events as viewed from their particular perspective, either recounting events, providing back-story or even, in the case of the youngest member, Jack, providing a retrospective view from his present day adulthood, highlighting just how so not very long ago those times really were.

Despite the shock of its opening and the dark theme which that promises, this book is, in reality, an absolute delight.  It shows how even in the darkest times, there is the hope of human decency, understanding and, above all, compassion for one’s fellow human beings.

Well recommended.

(I must confess to borrowing a few lines and turn of phrases from other reviewers when I wrote the review for this book – I felt they captured what I was grappling with much more eloquently than I could.)

Daddy’s Girl by Margie Orford

I read this brilliant book the other day, and I published the review on www.moomie.co.za – but it really as a good book so I thought I would put the review up on my blog as well.

The main character in Daddy’s Girl is Dr. Clare Hart.  Clare is a profiler, who consults when police needing to understand the motives and characteristics of criminals in order to identify patterns of behavior.  She assists in narrowing the search in finding either the perpetrators or the victims before they turn up dead. Her specialty is crimes that involve children.

Clare is approached by the very intense character of Captain Riedwaan Faizal who is with Cape Town’s elite Gang Unit – he is a man in a desperate situation.  He is tough and streetwise — his marriage has crumbled and his wife intends to emigrate to Canada with their only daughter.    All these personal issues become pertinent to the weaving of this story.

Clare quickly becomes involved with him and assisting to solve his ordeal. (I do not want to give away too much of the story.)

Cape Town comes to life as it’s own character in this book.  It is messy, colourful and feels dangerously familiar.  The streets and descriptions of the locations of the crimes are familiar and if you have lived or ever lived in Cape Town, adds an authenticity to the story and the characters.

The story is fast paced, it is ugly and grim.  If you have children it will strike at your core.  The backdrop is the poverty on the Cape Flats, the 27’s and powerful men who cross the line between politics and crime syndicates, and control the city.

Your heart cries for the young girls, their families and the crushing poverty that forces them to make some dire decisions.

I cursed this story in the beginning.  I was reading 3 – 4 pages a day, and would keep putting it down, as it was just too much to bear.  I realized that this book is a bit like a plaster – you need to brace yourself and just get through the pain quickly.

This book is engrossing – it is disturbing, sobering, and makes you aware that there are things happening on your doorstep that we do not realise, and would rather not know about.  As dark and frightening as Daddy’s Girl is, you cannot deny how good it is, and what a brilliant author Margie Orford has proven herself to be.

A gripping, soul-exhausting but totally brilliant read!