Beryl Eichenberger’s Review of Under the African Sun, by Gail Gilbride
I think that, having read ‘Under The African Sun’ as an adult and living through those apartheid years and the Soweto uprising, the book is perfect for a generation who did not experience that time. The book certainly clears up the misconception that it was only black people in the struggle and shows the opposite in a way that is at once engaging and understandable. As a young adult read, the balance between romance, misunderstanding, politics and a cruel regime was beautifully managed and introduces the reader to a time when life was very different.
The integrity of the characters never faltered and it was wonderful to see how Deborah fully realised what was going on, showing such courage by not betraying her Chris. I liked particularly that Deborah grew from a very naïve young girl into a savvy young woman who became fully independent and looked beyond face value.
Chris’s internal battle to keep Deborah safe whilst wanting to be with her was obvious but Gilbride also cleverly emphasised that commitment to a cause is at once all – consuming and empowering. The political aspect did not overpower the story but was described in a way that reminded me that no-one was safe at that at time, however apolitical one professed to be.
A well – crafted book that flows and engages so that you don’t want to put it down. I think this should be prescribed reading for young adults.
Yes, I do want to know what happened next – did Charlie win her? Did Chris walk again?
And how much of what is related is part of Gilbride’s own story?