2009, Macmillan, ISBN: 978-1-77010-356-6, Pages: 304
For my 10 and a half hour trip to Frankfurt, Germany, I took Angela Makholwa’s The 30th Candle for company. I read the first few pages and put the book down. It didn’t sound all too interesting. I then tucked into my dinner and paged through the entertainment menu on offer in case I couldn’t get into the book again. After failing to fall asleep, I decided to pick the book up again and give it another bash – and Ahoy! We were off!!!
The book chronicles the lives of four girlfriends and how they feel about turning the big 30! It is not easy for a writer to keep the authenticity of each individual characters but I think that’s one thing that Makholwa managed to do well in this book. Although the character Linda is more prominent, I think Makholwa managed to give each girl her own space to shine. She was able to give each character their own personality through and through. Just like in any group of more than two people, there are a number of cliques in this group which makes the story interesting as one unravels which cliques keeps which secret between them.
There is Linda who is the non-relationship committal workaholic TV producer type who seems to be this group’s glue as all have a relationship with her. Then there is Nolwazi who’s the closest to Linda, a fashion designer with a damming secret that threatens to break this group apart. Sade is a girl with an ugly past who has since turned a new leaf but keeps getting reminded of her past sins by her ‘perfect’ husband whom she has put on a pedestal until the most despicable thing is discovered about him. And then lastly there is the Psychologist Dikeledi who represents so many girls’ struggles with regards to decisions about men.
The girls go through a lot of challenges together and although they have a lot of instances that threaten to break their friendship apart, at the end of it all, they are there for one another. This is basically a story about a group of girls who survive life together and are real about what they feel which isn’t always common in the real world. So bar a few slow start pages, the rest of the book was captivating and graphic with lots of secrets and a lot of fun girl-talk.
I really enjoyed the book and will check out her other two books; Red Ink and Black Widow Society.