Book Review – Killing Karoline

Killing Karoline – What happens when the baby they buried comes back? by Sara-Jayne King (MF BOOKS JOBURG) ISBN: 978-1-920601-95-9

Johannesburg 1980. Karoline’s birth is not celebrated but feared. The manifestation of an illegal affair between a white woman and her black lover is banally erased to save both parents’ futures. A deeply disturbing web of unthinkable lies underpins this memoir.

However, being an adept journalist/ radio personality regrettably does not secure King’s debut as outstanding. Three grammar errors before page 21 do not make for an enchanting start to any story. The plethora of serious issues addressed in 195 pages –including adoption, racial awareness, addiction, self-harm, and the haphazard way in which these are presented restrict flow.

Gripping detail regarding King’s early life is followed bluntly by a mere mention of her leaving her adoptive home. Clichés and uncoordinated attempts at shocking hamper the style of this very human story. I cannot shake the feeling that in spite of the hellish shadow over her eventful life, King had adoptive parents who earnestly ventured to offer her a life and a brilliant education.

This is an unsettling read that would be great if it were written with more discipline.

Michèle Meyer

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Posted on: 27th September 2017