Trainsurfer by Kate S. Richards

Trainsurfer

Jabu is a 12 year old, growing up as an orphan in South Africa.  Kyle is a senior in high school, growing up in South Africa. Jabu and Kyle meet on a beach were blacks are allowed.  The two boys could not be growing up in more different worlds even though they live in same city, Durban. When their two worlds collide, they both have to face the reality of the world in which they live.

Richards has written a coming of age story about boys who live to surf, and yet it is an emotional read due to their circumstances and the political climate. Richards handles the subject of Apartheid slightly below the surface as an introduction to the subject, keeping within the confines of her story.  On top of dealing with all the issues of adolescence adding the racial laws and climate of Apartheid would have to add confusion to the normal struggle of growing up and discovering yourself.

Richards does bring in some religious beliefs but they are certainly within the composition of the story and in no way offensive.  The religious theme, if any, is about forgiveness and not a particular way to live. It very much reminds me of Bishop Tutu and his approach to the situation in South Africa.  

This is certainly a fun read if you in any way enjoy surfing.  I really enjoyed the descriptions of riding the waves, the Green Room  and the way the waves were shredded. It seems to me that it is also a good read for tweens who need to be more aware of race issues and the wrongs of trying to separate races and declare one better than any other.  

 

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