Award-winning author, Zakes Mda, has once again written a page-turner that is so real you can feel yourself a part of it. This book, Rachel’s Blue, is set in a close-knit community of Jensen township, in Athens county, Ohio.
In this book, you will meet Rachel Boucher, Moira Boucher (AKA Nana Moira, Rachel’s grandmother). The De Klerks who are family friends of the Bouchers, Genesis De Klerk (Jason’s father), Jason De Klerk (Genesis’s son) and Schyler (Rachel’s best friend). It tells a story of a young woman, Rachel Boucher, who was raped, not by a stranger but someone she sees as a brother, Jason De Klerk.
Because the De Klerks are considered family by the Bouchers, this incident confuses Nana Moira. She sees Jason, who worked at the community centre, as a good boy, and never suspected a thing.
The book draws in a legislation that exists in some American cities, the issue of custody and visitation rights of rapists when a child is conceived during the crime.
As you read, you’ll go through a rollercoaster ride of emotions. You will feel happy, sad and angry. You’ll empathise and also laugh. What I loved about this book is that it taps into human nature. It has no heroes or villains and focuses on real issues that affect real people in everyday life. Something that Mda does so well in his books.
It’s also an eye-opener about rape as a global problem, and it shows the problems that each character faces as normal to everyone.
The book taps into family relationships. Nana Moira and her granddaughter may not agree on everything, but they will stick together through thick and thin. Similarly, Genesis and his son, Jason, also have their own differences but when facing difficulties those differences are put aside and work on finding solutions together.
It’s also a story of friendship. Rachel’s no-nonsense friend Schyler, steps up to help Rachel, regardless of her own personal problems. Lastly, I love how Mda uses Nana Moira as a voice of reason but in a rather comical way. Her character works well against Rachel’s stubbornness and it sort of helps tone down the seriousness of the book a bit.
As heartbreaking as Rachel’s ordeal is, you are encouraged by seeing her character develop, from a dreamer to a doer and matured young mother.
Follow Zakes Mda on Twitter: @ZakesMda
Follow me on Twitter: @Simamkele_M