Hum If You Don't Know The Words - Book Review

Hum If You Don't Know The Words - Book Review - Incredible Opinions

Hum If You Don't Know The Words ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Bianca Marais
Published in:  July 2017
Buy at:  Amazon

“I didn’t know what to say in a world where people were hated and attacked for not being the right color, not speaking the right language, not worshipping the right god or not loving the right people; a world where hatred was the common language, and bricks, the only words.” ― Bianca Marais, Hum If You Don't Know The Words


A much-recommended book by the bookish community and this book lives up to its hype. I cannot recommend this book enough for everyone to read it.

'Hum If You Don't Know The Words' is about Robin and Beauty. Robin, a nine-year-old is a white girl in South Africa whose parents are murdered by black men. Beauty, a forty-nine-year-old rural yet educated black woman is searching for her nineteen-year-old daughter who is training to be an activist to fight against the white people. Divided by race, Robin and Beauty would never cross each other's path but they end up becoming a family brought together by love.

I am a sucker for historical fiction. It was my first time reading about apartheid-era in South Africa since my school. It is such a powerful book which not only illustrates the frights of apartheid South Africa but also addresses the relevance of racism in our times. It is not a sad and depressing book. The humour and innocence blended with grief and tensions are commendable. The overall spirit of South African people is to laugh. The book delivers it with other dire messages.

I loved all the characters. Robin is a bit unlikeable at times but she is just a nine-year-old girl. The blunders she does are purely out of innocence. Beauty, on the other hand, is a strong character who goes through many hardships to bring her daughter back and to keep the promise she did to her sons. Morrie and King George will bring a smile to the reader's face forgetting about the harsh realities of South Africa during that period for some time.

I have never read historical fiction in a day. 'Hum If You Don't The Words' is an exception due to its writing and an intriguing plot. Flawless writing and intriguing plot compelled me to turn pages to discover more. It made me cry, made me laugh and made me think. Bianca Marias has hit a sixer (home run) in her debut novel by writing such a compelling, witty and radiant story of her homeland. Vivid descriptions of the scenes are immaculate. The story is told from the alternate point-of-views of Robin and Beauty to enrich the reading experience.

A must-read for all the historical fiction fans, I finally found my favourite book of 2020.