Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review: The Innocence of Roast Chicken

Publisher submission in exchange for an honest review.

The Innocence of Roast Chicken 
Jo-Anne Richards 
Release Date:
Republished May 2011 
Rebel ePublishers 
Word Count:
approx. 83,000 
Purchase Links: 
Author's Website:


After an idyllic childhood and magical holidays on her grandparents’ chicken farm, the conundrum is why Kate – now married to Joe, a human rights’ lawyer – is so cynical, closed and unforgiving.

Her unrelenting attitude, combined with Joe’s loss of faith in his ability to promote change, precipitates a painful confrontation.  The necessary expiation reveals a child’s loss, a child’s feelings of impotence and a child’s anguish at her failure to pre-empt harm.

Kate’s liberation is evocative, elegant and compelling. 

Laura’s Review:

When I first started reading The Innocence of Roast Chicken, I felt like I was back in a college classroom listening to my favorite English professor lead a discussion the various ways that history impacts great literature.  This book is most definitely not a romance, but it is certainly worth the read.  There are a couple things you should know though.  This book is one that you need to devote time to.  It’s not a book that can be read in one sitting.  It takes time to process and to see how everything comes together in the end.  Don’t shy away from reading it.  It’s really too good of a book to miss.

This story is told through the eyes of Kati at two different points in time.  The first is at Christmas time in 1966 and the other is in 1989, just as apartheid is about to end in South Africa.  We’re introduced to Kati as a naïve and optimistic 8-year-old, who firmly believes that whatever bad things there are in the world can’t possibly touch her family, especially when they’re at her grandparents’ farm for Christmas.  As the story continues, we start to see little shifts, all through Kati’s eyes, that start to wear down her innocence.  In the third chapter, the story shifts to an adult Kati, who is so jaded and broken, we know that something must have happened, but we don’t know what.  This book explores all of the players and events that shaped Kati into the person she has become.  Somehow she ended up married to a man whose view of the world is eerily similar to the way hers was at eight.  As he gradually becomes disillusioned with the revolution, Kati’s cold heart slowly starts to warm, and she is finally able to share her story.  What happens is truly horrific, but Jo-Anne Richards does a remarkable job in the telling.  It was easy to imagine the horror and the pain that Kati endured.

It took me awhile to get into this book, and at first, I wasn’t even sure I was going to like it.  But I stuck with it, and by the time I reached the end, I was enthralled.  Someday this book is going to be read by college English majors and analyzed.  Papers will be written about how childhood events shape the feelings of characters as they grow and mature.  This is a beautiful piece of writing that I think you should all read immediately.

(Blog Note: While this is not a romance, the premise was too intriguing to pass up. The beauty of running a blog is the ability to break your own rules from time to time. ~J.)

Laura's Rating:

1 comment:

  1. Laura, thank you so much for your wonderful review. I'm quite overwhelmed.

    You're quite right. This was never intended to be a Romance (although it is about love - and about hope). But I'm thrilled you reviewed it.

    I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my country, with its extremes of beauty and violence.
    Warm regards,
    Jo-Anne Richards