Monday, October 08, 2012

Review by Kulsuma: Stones For My Father by Trilby Kent

Review by Kulsuma from sunshine and stardust

Stones for My Father by Trilby Kent was a fantastic book set in South Africa during the Boer War. I was very interested in reading it because I know so little about the Boer War and wanted to learn more about it. Told from twelve year old Corlie’s point of view, I witnessed the hardships that the Boers have to go through at the hands of soldiers of the British Empire; from burning down their houses to destroying all their crops. Kent did a great job of trying to show how both sides behaved through Corlie’s eyes.

As Corlie’s mother resents her and favours her two younger brothers to her, Corlie seeks solace in her friendship with their African slave, Sipho. But soon the enemy are upon them and they have no choice but to leave their home and everything they know to join a laager. During the upheaval of the following days, Corlie befriends a Canadian soldier who shows kindness to her. When she and her family end up in an internment camp, it is this friendship that may well save her.

Stones for My Father is a short but emotional read. I immediately sympathised with Corlie’s situation and wanted to know what would happen to her, her family and her friends. I got a strong sense of what the war must have been like through Corlie’s narrative. I enjoyed all the twists and turns of the story and especially enjoyed when unsuspecting characters shocked me.

Reading about the camp was heartbreaking. Corlie is only twelve but seems much older because of all the events she witnesses. I loved how she would tell stories to her brother, Gert. It reminded me of how young she actually was. The soldier that Corlie meets at some points of the novel offered another perspective of the war. In the end, Corlie feels torn between two worlds. Everything that she goes through changes her.

Stones for My Father is a brilliant book. Trilby Kent did an amazing job of portraying the Boer War through the eyes of a twelve year old girl. While I did wish it was longer, the story felt complete. I would recommend Stones for My Father to middle grade readers and those interested in the Boer War.

Sounds really interesting, thanks Kulsuma!

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