Hum If You Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book, ahh where to even begin.
In it, we follow two different perspectives, a nine year old girl Robin, whose parents were shot by activists, and Beauty, a Xhosa woman living in a village that comes to try to find her daughter, and ends up being the nanny for Robin. Their lives collide and tangle, and neither of them will ever be the same after their shared experiences.
This book is set in South African apartheid, and I don't have any expertise on how accurately this was researched. Although this book was a bit enjoyable, if you want to open your eyes more the all of the horrors of apartheid, I would direct you to Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
As a book that struggles with hard topics such as race, privilege, oppression, activism, etc. I thought that it had some solid passages where Beauty is trying to explain to Robin about how not all black people are the same "bad", how even though her parents were killed, she now has to deal with the fact that they were evidently racist. It's just an interesting journey of a nine year old who has had past good and bad experiences with black people, and how she comes to grapple with the loss of her parents.
Lots of things in the book were so unrealistic and so implausible. There were risky things that Robin did for redemption, which I personally didn't appreciate how it was played out. If you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about because it's obvious that this would have never happened the way that it did.
The ending was also pretty unsatisfying, in the sense that the author left everything partially resolved. We have no way of knowing what exactly happened to either of the storyline and so it's not what I was waiting for nor was it what I expected. Overall, my rating scale is tipped over to the lower side of things considering the many lacks that I found with the story itself.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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