Rainbow’s End

This is the title of the book I started yesterday.  And finished yesterday.  All 259 pages… which is a lot for me in one 24-hour period.  I just couldn’t stop.

I was hurriedly browsing through the shelf of new biographies at the library yesterday morning, knowing I was on the verge of being late for work already.  I added a book about three Iranian women to my already-grabbed Trollope novel, and then glanced at the brown cover of one subtitled, “A memoir of childhood, war, and an American Farm.”  I stuck it in my pile and headed for the counter.

Later I pulled it out again and realized, there beside the little crouching cowgirl with hat, gun, and dog in hand, the subtitle didn’t read “…American Farm,” but “African”.  Hmm.  I opened it up and began to read.

Now, let me disclaim here.  The preface is an account of the guerilla massacre of a Rhodesian family in the 1970’s.  It is a violent way to begin.  The attack occured in the home where the book’s author, Lauren St John, would later move in and grow up: the game reserve called Rainbow’s End.  Even though she was not there that night, the event had a great affect on the direction of Lauren’s family and her own life.  There are also a few scattered references to things better skipped over, and some language, although it’s not very liberaly sprinkled.  This lady did not grow up in a Christian home, and actually, the story is the story of her family slowly falling apart, and a young girl having to figure things out mostly on her own.  So be forewarned.

But.  It is also the story of the Rhodesian Bush War of the 1960’s-early 1980’s, from the perspective of a descendant of four generations of “European” Rhodesians.  It is living history, history of a place and time I knew very little about.  It is a compelling snapshot of the life of a child growing into an adult in an extraordinary, frightening, time and in a world that seems so strangely unlike what I thought Africa, or Zibabwe, is or ever was.  Yes, I know, I am showing my ignorance.

As the story comes to a close, Ms. St John speaks of the changing of names, beginning with the very name of the country, from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.  The city where she attended school even gained a new name: Harare.  And I thought, I know that name!  That is one of the cities that our congregation sends Bible correspondence courses to.  I’ve graded many myself.  In fact, I have a letter, given to me by another “teacher”, from a 20-year-old student who is seeking a pen-pal.  I’ve had it for months, and somehow I just haven’t known what to say.  I went and dug it out of my desk today, and looked at the address, just to make sure: yes, Beaulah is from Zimbabwe.  In fact, she lives in the very town about which Lauren St John writes.  I’ve been reading about her own home, albeit 25-30 years ago, but what a nice surprise.  Maybe now I can find something to say!


A review, from someone obviously more practiced than I at writing them, is here.


About Jeanne

Notes on the journey of a seaching heart... View all posts by Jeanne

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