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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and haunting
I found this to be a wonderful book, narrated by Nyree, an 8-year-old girl who is growing up in Rhodesia with her sister in the 1970s. We hear about the country's political unrest as seen through Nyree's eyes and her childlike understanding of it. Her story is filled with a child's innocence and faery tales about malevolent spirits, the mixture gelling to create a...
Published on 15 Jun 2008 by kehs

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and Atmospheric
This is an excellent, suspenseful and atmospheric book which was a big surprise to me. Although it is essentially a childhood 'memoir', narrated in the first person, it is very unsettling and moving, with an all-pervading sense of menace, even before the arrival of the girl's evil cousin Ronin. There are one or two quite disturbing incidents, but the book is rich in...
Published on 22 Jun 2009 by Ms. K. Judge


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and haunting, 15 Jun 2008
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam (Hardcover)
I found this to be a wonderful book, narrated by Nyree, an 8-year-old girl who is growing up in Rhodesia with her sister in the 1970s. We hear about the country's political unrest as seen through Nyree's eyes and her childlike understanding of it. Her story is filled with a child's innocence and faery tales about malevolent spirits, the mixture gelling to create a superbly dark tale. When the sisters' world is disturbed by the arrival of their cousin Ronin, you realise that some very bad events are going to occur because he brings with him a deep sense of gloomy foreboding. At times this book made me laugh out loud, but there are other moments of great sorrow that had me reaching for the tissues to mop my tears. I loved the way that Liebenburg gave her writing a Grimm style flavouring. For me it added to the darkness that surrounded this time in history. Overall, this was a funny, sad, poignant and haunting read and one that will stay with me for some time to come.

I have just one tiny criticism in that I would have preferred to have footnotes, rather than a glossary at the back of the book, for ease of referral when looking up the Afrikaan and Rhodesian slang.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Novel?, 8 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam (Hardcover)
Wow! I cannot believe this is a first novel. Right from the start I was lost in this book, in fact, I felt like I was there in Rodesia. Having been told a lot by a friend who was raised in South Africa this was like a confirming re-vist.

Really well written with strong, believable characters. I felt so sorry for the girls who were left to get on with things as the adults just seemed so self preoccupied. I shared their up and downs, fears, joys along with the down right scary moments and times.

I thoroughly recommend this book it gets a 5 star from me
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book from Africa, 14 May 2009
I liked this book - it drew me ever onwards to see what happened. I loved the style of writing and luckily I come from that part of the world so the slang didn't bother me. If you haven't I suggest you keep looking at the glossary at the back for explanations. One of the previous reviewers complained about the one-dimensional nature of Ronin. For me, though, it is just the way an 8 year old girl would see him - an 8 year old girl easily categorises people as evil or good. I would have liked to know more, but for me his mystery added to the tale. I just hope this writer is going to keep writing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, 6 Jun 2008
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This review is from: The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam (Hardcover)
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as I was purely reading because the title interested me initially. However, I was quickly drawn into Nyree and Chia's world, where they are influenced by fairytales, their grandfather's biblical views and their father's absence.
However, their blissful life is destroyed when Ronin, an unwanted cousin arrives.
My only complaint is that Ronin's motives are never really clear and all we know about him is that he is bad, we don't know why he is or what he feels about the events of the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam and became attatched to the narrator Nyree.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and Atmospheric, 22 Jun 2009
By 
Ms. K. Judge (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is an excellent, suspenseful and atmospheric book which was a big surprise to me. Although it is essentially a childhood 'memoir', narrated in the first person, it is very unsettling and moving, with an all-pervading sense of menace, even before the arrival of the girl's evil cousin Ronin. There are one or two quite disturbing incidents, but the book is rich in strong characters, such as Grandpa who was a wonderful character, whose lives are set against the political unrest in Zimbabwe in the 1970's. There is an interesting contrast between the remoteness of the farm on which Nyree lives with her mother and sister, and the relative sophistication of the town. The narrative had a very authentic "child's voice", immediate and nostalgic. It would make an excellent, atmospheric film too. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Final paragraph still in my mind...., 11 Sep 2012
Awesome book. The author creates a magical world and her descriptions of northern rhodesia and these young girls' idyll is captivating. As the story twists and turns you cannot help but be gripped by events as they unfold and the descriptions of the characters and surroundings continue to spellbind you.
The last few chapters had me holding my breath, unable to put the book down but also needing to pause before turning the page. My hairs standing on end.
I don't wish to recap the story here but if you are searching for a novel to thrill, shock, captivate and bring a tear to your eye i would recommend this without a doubt. Mesmerising descriptions, engaging characters and a storyline which imprints in your memory. Awesome.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A charming book, 17 May 2011
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This book is full of childhood memories (but not mine). It has a warmth and charm that are unigue. It talks fo Rhodesia's turblent history through Nyree's (the central characters') eyes. It is poginant and at times painful to read as her voice comes over very strongly. Sometimes by reading books that are designed for younger readers we (as adults) truly get a sense of what is wrong with the world. Once you've read this you won't want to leave it behind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my most memorable reads, 19 Mar 2010
By 
For all of us who had a childhood that we wish our own children could of had, this book reminds us of those days and more. Being South African maybe I hold this book close to my heart because I remember so much of what is written. I would recommend this book to everyone, it may be a hard read for someone that doesn't understand the african language but i promise it's worth the read, laugh and cry ... wow..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our book club, 18 Sep 2009
By 
B. Hedges (Hastings East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
a wonderful book, bought it for a book club read, was voted the best yet, what more con I say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Voluptuous, delightful but also very sad, 4 Jun 2009
By 
Denise4891 (Cheshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This book is set just as Rhodesia is jumping out of the frying pan of Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, and into the fire of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Forget the politics though, this is a story of childhood innocence cruelly shattered.

Nyree and Cia spend their days playing in the lush forests and mountains around their family farm and the story is rich with the flora and fauna of Africa. Their poor but relatively idylic life is turned on its head by the arrival of their mysterious cousin, who introduces a sense of menace and fear which increases by the page as the book moves towards its shocking conclusion.

There is a glossary at the back of the book but I only had to refer to it a couple of times as it was quite easy to get the gist of the smattering of African words in the context of the story. This is a short but really impressive debut novel from an author who grew up in Rhodesia during the civil war. I'm looking forward to her next book which has an equally catchy title - The West Rand Jive Cats Boxing Club.
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The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam
The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg (Hardcover - 31 Mar 2008)
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