Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Imperfect Blessing” as Want to Read:
An Imperfect Blessing
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Imperfect Blessing

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  18 reviews
It is 1993. South Africa is on the brink of total transformation and in Walmer Estate, a busy suburb on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, fourteen-year-old Alia Dawood is about to undergo a transformation of her own. She watches with fascination and fear as the national drama unfolds, longing to be a part of what she knows to be history in the making. As her revolutionary aspira ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 2014 by Random Struik
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about An Imperfect Blessing, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about An Imperfect Blessing

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  95 ratings  ·  18 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of An Imperfect Blessing
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. This book is an incredible story of a Cape Malay family in Cape Town during apartheid South Africa and it is a beautifully told story. My video review of this book can be found here: ...more
Francine Maessen
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
I know books shouldn't be judged by their covers, but that doesn't say that South African literature doesn't have a serious problem with continuously giving good literature a chick-lit cover. ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it

Nadia Davids’ Imperfect Blessing is a fantastic coming of age story about a teenage girl named Alia who grows up as South Africa transitions out of its apartheid government. Set in 1994 in a Coloured community in Cape Town, Alia struggles with her dual Muslim and Coloured identity as she navigates integrated schooling, a relationship, her parents’ viewpoints, and her uncle Waleed’s radical adventures. In this novel, Davids manages to craft a modern family tree and successfully recognize each of
Jocelyn Newmarch
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read Nadia’s novel as I briefly overlapped with her at UCT and knew her very vaguely. I suppose, to be more exact, I knew of her – I saw her by sight and knew her by reputation as already a skilled playwright – I don’t think she knew me. Much of Nadia’s work is about examining Muslim culture as it is lived in Cape Town (for instance, the play At Her Feet, which features an all-female cast of characters performed by the actor Quanita Adams). An Imperfect Blessing, similarly, follows a ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I missed this book as it came out in 2014. I was also coming of age as the protagonists in the late 19080's and early 1990's in South Africa, but in a white community. The book made me realise yet again how naive we were at the time. We thought President Mandela's rainbow magic would resolve all our problems, but we overlooked the deep seated trauma experienced by the majority of the population. Davids captures the story of one Muslim family of District Six so well by painting t ...more
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Fascinating glimpse and engaging look into a Cape Malay family during the early 1990's in Cape Town, South Africa ...more
Marion Roux
Mar 03, 2018 rated it liked it
A look inside a comfortable Muslim family during the placements out of District Six.

All the politics of the time and the impact on different members of the family
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book with both witty and sensitive insight into a moment in South Africa's history. ...more
Emmanuel Mandela
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed Nadia Davids exudation of words. I relish how she was able to juxtapose the family life of the Daewoods and the political quagmire in South Africa . A good read.
Ahrrr Kayyy
May 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I first came across this book when it made the shortlist of Nigeria's Etisalat prize for Africa literature. I searched every bookshop, in multiple cities, on two separate trips to South Africa, looking for this book - in vain. I finally managed to find an e-copy on - around the same time that the author generously gifted me a hard copy of her book (Twitter - you have your uses!). That was a lovely gesture, Nadia. Thank you.

[Let this also be a lesson in why I should not try to re
Katherine Baltes
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nadia Davids' first novel, An Imperfect Blessings is smart, evocative, and complicated. Set in 1993 South Africa, the story follows fourteen-year-old Alia Dawood and her experiences as a young Coloured and Muslim teenager coming of age on the eve of South Africa's transition to democracy. Davids' command of language is beautiful, and she often uses unusual metaphors that enhance the scene and set her writing apart. At one point, the family sits in "an asymmetrical silence," and a visit from Alia ...more
Jacqueline Mack
Dec 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’ve always found coming-of-age stories difficult to read, only in that they have always failed to catch my attention. They seem cliché, always focusing on teen angst and the mental/emotional development of a single character. And yet Nadia Davids’s An Imperfect Blessing was surprisingly pleasant to read, considering it fits the textbook definition of the genre so well. I credit that to the multi-layered aspect of the novel. An Imperfect Blessing isn’t just about the coming-of-age of Alia Dawood ...more
Alexandra L.
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nadia David's An Imperfect Blessing is an excellent novel that details life living under a Coloured and Muslim identity in South Africa very personally and honestly. Set in 1994, the text creates a very distinct South African feel. David's discusses a coming of age narrative of a teenage girl, Alia, as she and her community transition out of the age of the Apartheid. She does an excellent job of allowing her work to feel very close to home as she discusses issues of schooling, the development of ...more
Nov 09, 2014 added it
Interview with the author:

- Alia's room was one of messy beginnings. -

- But this was his farewell performance and he was speechifying towards a legacy. The pleasure and engagement of his audience was fleeting, but the reproduction of the full text in the school magazine was forever. -

- But then, you can't put a price on overseas. Even if the fabric is poor quality, people go nuts for an import. -

- Samoosas and mind games. -

- No, she hated all sp
Zara Rahman
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I picked it up in a little bookstore in Cape Town, and was drawn to it because it had a character with the same name as my mum. It gave a totally different view on post-apartheid South Africa to those I've read so far - this time, from the perspective of a girl growing up in a Muslim community. It's a cross between a coming-of-age story, but with a difficult political and cultural situation. Really, really recommended. ...more
Nasreen Seria
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Evocative of that time during the 1990s, characters feel real. But reads more like a collection of memories than a real narrative.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book about family. A must read.
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2014
Leonie Saker
rated it really liked it
Feb 06, 2019
Penny de Vries
rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2014
rated it it was ok
Sep 14, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2019
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2017
Valmont Layne
rated it really liked it
Jul 13, 2014
Maria Jose
rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Dec 16, 2016
rated it liked it
May 31, 2018
rated it really liked it
Apr 18, 2020
Nazeem Hardy
rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2014
rated it liked it
Aug 01, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Apeirogon
  • Spilt Milk
  • What We Lose
  • Green Island
  • She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
  • Coconut
  • Truitjie roer my nie: Oor Kempton en ander k-woorde
  • Eindspel
  • Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity
  • Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS
  • This is Where I Leave You
  • He Said/She Said
  • Love After Love
  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
  • American Royals (American Royals, #1)
  • Expectation
  • Bunny
  • Long Bright River
See similar books…

Related Articles

  Listen up, because our colleagues here at Goodreads have some excellent audiobook recommendations for you! Of course, the books they've...
45 likes · 25 comments