Two girls cultivate a friendship in defiance of apartheid law in this gentle, vivid novel by a South African writer. The two...

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Two girls cultivate a friendship in defiance of apartheid law in this gentle, vivid novel by a South African writer. The two meet in a Johannesburg park when Candy sprains her ankle and Becky comes to her aid. Determined to befriend her rescuer, who exhibits both wit and insight, Candy cajoles her reluctant parents into permitting Becky to visit their suburban home each Sunday for the purpose of teaching Candy the Zulu language. As the two get to know each other, Candy discovers that Becky lives with eight relatives in a four-room shack in Soweto; that she has to pay for her inferior education out of her mother's meager salary; that she's been raped twice by hoodlums who have nothing to fear from the police; that she dreads the approach of her sixteenth birthday because she will receive her Identity Document, a special pass by which the government controls the movements of all black adults. The pressures of a guilty white conscience soon bring Candy into confrontations with her loving but frightened parents, her understanding Afrikaner boyfriend, and her social circle--reaching a crisis when Becky is radicalized by the rioting that engulfs Soweto after the 1976 massacre of black schoolchildren. The endling lapses into contrivance: Candy's parents undertake to pay for Becky's education and the reconciled friends go off to visit Swaziland together. However, Jones' characters are credible and natural, and the relationships between them (in particular, between Candy and her family) are delineated with warmth and sympathy.

Pub Date: April 9, 1980

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980