No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa

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9780060275068: No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa

When things become unbearable at home, twelve-year-old Sipho escapes to Johannesburg, where he has heard that gangs of children live on the streets. Surviving hunger and the bitter-cold winter nights is hard enough -- but learning who to trust in the "new" South Africa proves even more difficult.
Based on real-life stories of young black South Africans living on the streets, this powerful novel evokes the difficulties of changing from an old society to a new one where all young people can live in peace and safety.

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About the Author:

In 1965 as a young student, Beverly Naidoo was forced into exile from South Africa, where she had been imprisoned for her involvement in resistance to apartheid. She moved to England at the age of 22. She wrote her first children's book, Journey To Jo'Burg: A South African Story, in 1985. Although originally banned in South Africa, this acclaimed and enormously successful novel helped thousands of young readers elsewhere to understand what life under apartheid meant for children. A sequel, Chain Of Fire, followed. Naidoo is also the author of No Turning Back.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-8. Sipho's idyllic country life ends when his nurturing grandmother dies and he returns to his mother's shack. Shocked to discover he now has a stepfather who is brutal and abusive, Sipho lasts for six months before running away to the mean streets of Johannesburg. He is taken in by a rather tame gang and taught the ropes of survival by the good-natured Jabu. Money for food and arcade games is almost painlessly earned by helping to carry groceries. Joseph, Jabu's opposite, tries to steer Sipho to ruin by offering him iglue (glue) to sniff. After a traumatic episode with a vigilante group, he is rescued from the harsh streets by a white shop owner who grudgingly gives him shelter in response to the pleas of his daughter. Unfortunately, the man's malevolent son chases the boy away. Sipho finds Jabu and salvation at a shelter that seems too good to be true. An understanding nun takes him home to visit his mother and new baby sister. With the stepfather conveniently offstage (looking for a job), it appears that all will be well for this family. Naidoo's latest offering will disappoint those expecting a convincing look at the street life of homeless South African children. Her palette seems limited to black and white characterizations (steadfast Jabu, glue-sniffing Joseph, drunken stepfather, etc.). Changes are driven by plot and are not true to character. Jabu seems content with his street life?so why would he suddenly decide to sign on at the shelter? For a more convincing look at the strife and turmoil in South Africa, choose Hazel Rochman's Somehow Tenderness Survives (HarperCollins, 1988).?Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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