If You Want to Make God Laugh

If You Want to Make God Laugh

Two estranged sisters in post-Apartheid South Africa come together in their childhood home, when a black baby is abandoned on their doorstep.

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About the Book

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My Review

In post-Apartheid South Africa, two estranged sisters find themselves back in their childhood home. Ruth is attempting to hold it together after several breakdowns and the collapse of her marriage, while Delilah faces her past and the things she left behind when she was disgraced out of the convent. When a black baby is abandoned on their doorstep, with his desperate mother Zodwa not far behind, they may be able to rebuild as a different kind of family–if the world will let them.

I haven’t read many books set in South Africa, and the political upheaval, rampant racism, and emerging AIDS pandemic were fascinating historical backdrops to this deeply personal story. Zodwa’s heartbreaking story in particular illuminated the lack of options for women in poverty, as well as the sexism, prejudices, indignities, and violence that force them to make unthinkable choices–for themselves and their children.

Publisher’s Description

From the author of the beloved Hum If You Don’t Know the Words comes a rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.

In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life.

Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it’s what she can’t have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to lick their wounds, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past.

As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?

Featured In

Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Tags: Africa, South Africa
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Year: 2019
ISBN: 9780735219311
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