From Destitute to Plenitude review by Christian Re...

Student Review

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Age at time of review - 23
Reviewer's Location - Yucaipa, CA, United States
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The memoir opens with a tragic political happening: in South Africa, the government deemed that people’s race could be legally changed in a manner of days and that the government itself would decide what a person’s race would legally be from that point onward. This change-of-race resulted in catastrophic happenings. Families were torn apart – parents would be considered "white" and their children considered "coloured," or vice-versa. This was a massive problem, because whites lived in one neighborhood and were allowed to use certain facilities (restrooms, drinking fountains, etc.) whereas coloureds lived in a different neighborhood and were allowed to use different facilities. Families, friends, and long-time brethren were rendered in two by this harsh and heinous South African law.

This memoir focuses not only on the true stories of the tragedies of South African families in dealing with difficult laws that were passed, but also on Louiesa and her family and how they dealt with the trying times their government put upon them.

 

Opinion: 

Having read the first memoir in this series (Memoirs of a Play-White), I was already very familiar with the author’s excellent writing style and easy-to-understand flow and pacing of the story. I enjoyed her writing style just as much in this book as I did in the first. The storyline never wavered or fell short; the pacing was excellent, and never was there a moment where I was reading and wondering when the story would pick-up again.

This book was sort of a mix-bag of everything and was sort of like a delicious fruit salad. While the first book in this series was more focused on the lives of people in South Africa and how they dealt with everyday life, this book focused on bits of everything. The first chapter focused on politics and racially-skewed governmental practices, the second chapter focused on sports, and the third focused on Louiesa and her relationship with her soon-to-be-husband Harold. Each chapter was about something new and different, which helped keep my attention piqued.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The first book was honestly a bit more interesting to me, as this book focused mostly on the bank and financial situations that happened due to government legislation being passed, and the first book focused mostly on people and their circumstances. That being said, I feel that this book was a good ending to the story, and what was in this memoir was needed for further clarification that the first book didn’t specify. The ending felt more complete, and the story seemed to have come full-circle. I would recommend this book to someone who is interested in banking or legislation or to someone who is inclined to like politically-driven books.

 

Rating:
5
Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

Explain your content rating: 

Politics are prevalent in this memoir from page one. The politics of the time are definitely racially-skewed and are without a doubt biased against particular groups of people. Other topics covered in the book include but are not limited to: abuse of all kinds (financial, domestic, emotional, sexual, psychological, and physical), passive-aggressiveness, domestic violence, sexism, racism, third-world countries and cultures, death of a loved one, improper medical procedures, narcissism, selfishness, government control, addiction to smoking, alcoholism, financial difficulties, poverty, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum depression, breastfeeding techniques, prostitution, sexual harassment, rape, and improper working conditions. A very large chunk of the book deals with particulars about banking, finances, and financial practices, which would be too confusing for younger audiences to comprehend. Religion is only mentioned a few times in passing, so there wasn’t much of that in the memoir. This book is definitely rated “Adult” for several good reasons. As such, parents/parental guardians, teachers, and/or librarians should definitely look this book over before giving it to a child/student, particularly if the child/student is more sensitive to any of the previously-mentioned materials.

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