RE­VIEW:

CityPress - - Voices -

Queen of the Free State by Jennifer Friedman

Tafel­berg

320 pages

R239 at takealot.com .... -

This charm­ing and evoca­tive mem­oir de­scribes the life of Jennifer Anne – so called to pay trib­ute to “Our queen’s lit­tle princess, Anne” – in Hen­nen­man, Free State.

Friedman brings us di­rectly into her world as the book opens with mem­o­ries of her mother, who wore tweed and brooches as the queen of Eng­land did. But for Jennifer, the colours of the tweed re­mind her of the veld on her grandpa’s farm, the blue flecks of foun­tain and the hills’ rusty red.

At once a poignant and amus­ing tale of child­hood mem­o­ries and fam­ily idio­syn­cra­sies, the book also documents with the light­est of touches what it was like to grow up in a Jewish fam­ily in the 1960s in ru­ral South Africa.

Across the road lives Nel­lie, who al­lows Jennifer in to see the Christ­mas tree, al­though Nel­lie’s granny has for­bid­den it be­cause she’s not a “true be­liever and not Afrikaans”, but the chil­dren take no no­tice. Jennifer even­tu­ally starts Sub A flu­ent in Afrikaans, which is the medium of the school. But

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