The White Family by Maggie Gee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don't know what to say about this book. You should read it though. Most certainly.
I think that every person will have a different experience when they read, because each of us will identify and connect with characters differently. To a certain extent, their will be one who we understand above all the others - something about their experiences will line up with our own. And their will be a character you can't stand (maybe multiple), though I feel their will be a more generalised feeling towards Dirk in that respect. I felt most strongly towards Shirley, and certain elements of Darren. I felt sorry for May, and an almost rage for her acceptance. And Alfred, to me, is another father who was allowed to many excuses. My own background and family play a heavy part in how I feel about the White family. And you may feel differently about this story of race, love, family and community. But it will all make sense to you on some level. I think Maggie Gee has been very clever in her characterisation, I think she wanted us to react differently; she wants us to feel something about every character, whatever that may be.
Its superbly written; flowing seamlessly between character, time and place. And it deals openly with things that aren't usually discussed. Their is open hatred, and confusion in a society that was rapidly changing demographics. Its a prize winner for a reason.
I could go on and on about this book. But I feel I shouldn't (I am doing a lot of feeling with this book). It is up to you to decide how you feel.