Picture the scene….. It’s 1980, you’ve had an affair, it’s illegal under the then Apartheid government. It’s a crime but you convince your unsuspecting boyfriend to marry you. Then the baby is born and the truth of your illegal affair cannot be kept secret for much longer….. what do you do?
You kill Karoline!
Born Karoline King in 1980 in Johannesburg South Africa, Sara-Jayne (as she will later be called by her adoptive parents) is the result of an affair, illegal under apartheid’s Immorality Act, between a white British woman and her black South African employee.
Her story reveals the shocking lie created to cover up the forbidden relationship, and the hurried overseas adoption of the illegitimate baby, born during one of history’s most inhumane and destructive regimes.
Killing Karoline follows the journey of the baby girl (categorised as ‘white’ under South Africa’s race classification system) who is raised in a leafy, middle-class corner of the South of England by a white couple. It takes the reader through the formative years, a difficult adolescence and into adulthood, as Sara-Jayne (Karoline) seeks to discover who she is and where she came from.
Born Karoline King in Johannesburg in 1980, within weeks it becomes apparent the Karoline is not biologically related to her father, but is in fact the biological daughter of the black man whom her mother had a then illegal affair with. In order to avoid prison, Karoline’s Natural mother (as she refers to herself in years to come) and her husband concoct a crazy story of how Karoline has a rare disease that can only be treated in London, where they in fact have her relinquished for adoption.
A powerful read
What follows is Sarah-Jayne’s (formerly known as Karoline’s) journey to healing, self discovery and self acceptance. Her experiences are both painful and gut-wrenching, but her story is so incredibly insightful, powerful and ultimately uplifting.
This is a solid 5 star read for me, not just because of my own personal interest in the theme of adoption, but also because Sarah-Jayne has an incredible writing style. So beautifully poetic and utterly brutal at the same time.
I’d encourage everyone to read this book, most especially those whose lives have been touched by adoption, whether you’re an adoptee (I think you will relate) an adoptive parent (hugely insightful) , a birth parent or someone professionally involved in adoption.
Read it and then come back and tell me how this book touched and inspired you in your own personal life. Her journey, her message…. it’s extraordinary!