Title: Killing Karoline (Jacana)
Author: Sara-Jayne King
Reviewer: Beryl Eichenberger
What happens when the baby they buried comes back, by Sara-Jayne King. “I finished Killing Karoline in two days! Born of an illicit affair at the height of apartheid Karoline is bundled off to the UK and put up for adoption within weeks of her birth.
As she grows up as Sara-Jayne, questions about her natural parentage start to emerge and when she finds a letter from her birth mother it pushes her to re-connect, with devastating consequences. In search of the real person under the brown skin, Sara – Jayne draws you in to her story in a way that has you walking with her side by side on this painful journey. Her writing skill is such that less is more and her incisive journalistic skill is evident in vivid descriptions that linger. Short sharp chapters cover this story of abandonment at birth and, while baby Karoline is only a few weeks old when given up for adoption, begs the question – do we know what is happening to us at such a young age? Seemingly so, as throughout her life, issues of abandonment, being different and not belonging dog this courageous woman. Sinking into the addiction of food disorders, cutting and over the counter medication the need to connect with her natural family is all consuming and it is a brave woman who fights her way back to enormous success and a ‘coming home’ that brings her a family of sorts.
Frighteningly honest, sometimes funny, brave, gripping and heart-breaking Killing Karoline leaves an indelible mark. We know Sara –Jayne is working on a sequel and look forward to the next chapter in this bubbly, talented woman’s life.