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Dance With A Poor Man's Daughter

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  29 reviews
'My name is Lily Daniels and I live in The Valley, in an old house at the top of a hill with a loquat tree in the garden. We are all women in our house. My grandmother, my Aunt Stella with her hopalong leg, and me. The men in our family are not worth much. They are the cross we have to bear. Some of us, like my mother, don't live here any more. People say she went on the ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Black Swan (first published November 1st 1997)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  267 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Dora Okeyo
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked: Lily Daniels' Grandmother-she was an old woman who forgave her daughter for leaving-then choosing a life she never expected of her, and who hoped that things would get better for them even though it was clear that the government cared no more.
Most underestimated character: Gus Seep, he might have been the uncle that filled Lily's head with all these stories that people deemed lies, but he loved his family through and through.
I did not like: the kids who bullied Lily-they were pretty
Ingrid Sinclair
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
At first I was skeptical, but I ended up liking this novel a lot.
Sharon Reuben
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved the humour and story telling! The author transported me to an era that must have been very painful in sa society. Was delightful reading about another culture and their experiences.
Jul 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favourite books about South Africa.I loved the perspective of the child which is both innocent and also wise beyond her years.
Ellen Broadhurst
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 02, 2019 marked it as i-can-t-even-finish
Shelves: africa
I was interested in this South African-set novel, having visited the country a couple years ago. However, the detatched manner in which this story is told is just not connecting with me. Halfway thru- I'll pass on this one.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first came across this book in 2004 as an assigned reading for my grade 10 English class. I was fresh in South Africa and didn't know very much about the country's apartheid past so this was a massive learning experience. Now that I'm much older and live in Cape Town - where much of this story is situated - I couldn't wait to have another read and join Lily Daniels on a trip through her interesting and sometimes devastating life. Dance with a poor man's daughter will stay with you!
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The only reason I read this book was because we were told we should read a South African Author for our Grade 12 book review, but I have to say that I am very glad I did.

It tells the story of eleven year old Lily Daniels who lives on constitution Street in
" the valley". She lives with her grandmother and her aunt who got polio when she was little. lily says in a letter that " the men in our family aren't worth much".

Her mother left her when she was little and won't tell who Lily's father is,
Alta Cloete
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wat ‘n vreugde om iets nuuts en wonderliks in Afrikaans te ontdek. So ‘n iets/iemand het Pamela Jooste se skryfwerk vir my geword. (Sien post oor Môrester ‘n tydjie terug)

Armmansdogter is tien jaar na dit verskyn het, eers in Afrikaans vertaal. En wat ‘n lieflike vertaling is dit nie! Die skrywer sê self in haar voorwoord dat die vertaling eers haar karakters hulle ware stemme gegee het en ook nuwe lae van betekenis tot die oorspronklike Engelse teks toegevoeg het. Die leser kan werklik ons
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Set in Cape Town, possibly in the 70s, around the time the Group Areas act came into force and shortly before the forced removals from areas such as District Six. The focus is on a coloured family with primarily women and told from the perspective of the youngest, a 10/11 year old girl, whose mother 'took the Kimberley train' and left for Johannesburg years ago.
When it's clear the family's neighbourhood is going to be suffer due to changing laws, the girl's mother suddenly shows up again and,
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Another one to add to the short list. A real gem that delivers it all: a great story, compelling characters, and excellent writing, rich with historical detail. It's the coming of age story of a young "coloured" girl in the neighborhood known as District Six, in South Africa's Cape Town. This lively fictional story is set against the very real-life historic events of the neighborhood during the apartheid regime, from the Population Registration Act of the 1950's, to the forced removals of ...more
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have always enjoyed books written about 'adult' topics from a child's perspective. The world is an entirely different place in their eyes, and I think it is important to be reminded of what it is like from time to time. Told through the perspective of Lily Daniels is a story of growing up in South Africa as the apartheid threatens all she and her family knows. Surrounding the darkness of this theme, however, is an incredibly moving circle of family and friends alike. It is their stories mixed ...more
Ingrid Van blerk
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a story about the life of a family living in South Africa at the time of Apartheid. It focuses on a time just before what is called 'the forced removals' of the Cape Coloured community, threatening the families to leave everything behind.The story is told through the eyes of the sweetest 10 year old little girl. I love her absolute bond to her grandmother and her misunderstanding of who her mother is.
"...hers had been the hardest life of all because she was a strong and intelligent woman
May 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Readable but not noteworthy. Too few pages given to the why behind the what of the story. For a book about such a glaring violation of rights, the effects of the laws seems to have been played down quite a bit for the sake of building a character sketch of a sad and relatable family. The author's prologue sets you up for an entirely different read than what you end up getting.
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
A story about a family and their struggle during the population registration act of 1950 in Cape Town which is told through the eyes of an 11 year old girl. The valley describes Mowbray and district 6.
Jane Taylor
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Being a born and bred Cape Townion, I lived through every page of this well written account of the removal and relocation of the people living in Distict Six in the 60's and 70's. It touched me deeply.
Jan 04, 2009 added it
I have had a good spat of books in the last few months, and this is one of them. Not only has this book helped bring me more in tune with my new country, but it also lifted me out of my "comfort reading style". Written in a unique way that I initially found annoying, but later grew to embrace.
Sandy Mohonathn
An awesome read which brings back painful memories of growing up in the days of apartheid. Written with simplicity and a subtle humorous touch. A good illustration of the joy received in the simple.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
great language
Alta Cloete
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'n Onvergeetlike boek oor gewone mense binne 'n stelsel vasgevang.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: south-africa
Maybe 3.5 stars. It's a good fiction book about that time in South African history but some of the stylistic choices annoyed me.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A lively depiction of life for 'mixed race' South Africans under apartheid.
Natalie Way-jones
Aug 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book- very insightful and sad but has a lingering joy about it too. A greatread
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it and the SA background was very special
Nov 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This novel covers the "resettlement" of District 6 in Cape Town. For that reason alone, it's worth a read. But for whatever reason, I wasn't drawn into the story like I expected to be.
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Read this because a South African friend recommended it. It took a long time to get into, but it was really interesting to read, especially after coming back from South Africa.
Tina Maison
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Should of loved this one but found it laborious.
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved it! South Africa during apartheid. Cleverly written in the eyes of an 11 year old girl. You'll weep!
rated it liked it
Sep 27, 2012
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Pamela Jooste is a South African novelist. Her first novel, Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter, won the 1998 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, best first book, Africa, and the Sanlam Prize for Fiction. She worked for Howard Timmins publishers, and BP Southern Africa. She is married and lives in Cape Town.