On The Other Side Of Shame by Joanne Jowell

Step aside Danielle Steel because here in Mzansi we have found our very own story telling fundi, a gal who is putting a smile on our faces and a warm fuzzy feeling in our big old hearts! Mandi Strimling has found the most inspiring book and can’t wait to tell you about it.

Joanne Jowell, a Cape Town based writer has got the whole country talking. This is raw emotion, the stuff that gets books turned in movies, and I should know, having shelving much needed beauty sleep over the last few days to devour this book to see how it ends. I practically became a hermit all so that I didn’t miss a page of my new favourite read. On The Other Side Of Shame is not just an amazingly well written read , its one of those fabulous – just can’t put it down – better get the tissues out kind of book!

The 1960’s in South Africa was a time of great struggle, reflection and humility and it’s also where our story starts. It documents the youth of a young girl who falls pregnant. She’s not married but has a boyfriend who she’s madly in love with. There is one problem. Her parents are from the ‘old school’ generation of European immigrants, and well,  an unmarried pregnant daughter is not something considered proper . They make a choice for her, the only choice they see fit and that is; she has to give the baby up for adoption. Reluctantly, with a heavy heart she does so, but everyday for the next 4 decades brings with it a constant burden. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t wonder where the child she loved so much ended up, if he’s well, if he’s happy, and if she will ever get the chance to see him again. She ends up marrying her love and having 3 more beautiful kiddies but never forgetting her first born and the one she was forced to give away.

Joanne Jowell takes us on an unforgettable journey, a first person account by the people who lived this story.  You’ll share their tears and their joy, their fears and their regrets, their hopes and their dreams for their new futures.  It all starts with a single phone call, one that will change the lives of 2 seperate families forever. What awaits you is a wonderful reunion between parents and a son who was thought to be lost forever;  a newfound brother and friend and a triumphantly healing story of family, forgiveness and having no regrets.

After reading this book, I stand steadfast in my belief that what’s meant to be will be, and that the pathways we take in life are fated to lead in the exact direction that’s was always meant.

One more thing before I leave you to run to the bookstore, this ENTIRE STORY IS TRUE! Its fact, not fiction. Its real people, real emotions, a real life story and an amazing ending that will have you buying out the Kleenex aisle of your local grocery shop. It gives Adoption a whole other voice, one of neverending faith and unyielding compassion.

On The Other Side Of Shame is published by Panmacmillan SA and is available at bookstores nationwide. (RRP R125.00). It is also available on Amazon Kindle & Paperback. It is also available from South African Online Loot and Exclusive Books.

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Mandi uses what has become her signature “Sex & The City”


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