I really liked the progression of the characters in this book, as we get to know a bit more about Jean-Claude and Richard. In particular, the relationship between Anita and Jean-Claude works through a lot of the tension in this novel, finally allowing them to find some common ground and stop threatening to kill each other quite so often by the end.
Long Walk to Freedom is definitely a good primer for someone who wants to know more about Mandela’s life before, during, and a little bit after his prison time. It’s a good overview in particular of how South Africa’s police, judicial, and political system treated him, and of the actual timeline of his life. And it’s a particularly interesting read when he talks about how his life was inside prison and how, from his perspective, his release came about.
The only reason I read this book is because my book club was going to be talking about it in September. It had never really been on my radar, though apparently it’s quite popular and was even made into a movie (which watched with a couple friends after the night we talked about it at book club). And let me tell you – I will never get back the time I wasted reading it.
I have to say – for me, it started off slow. I fully understand the kind of suspense that Priest was trying to create, and it probably works for most people; for me, though, maybe it’s because I watched the movie first and had my own ideas of how the narrative would be set up, but it just didn’t excite me like I had been expecting.
It should be said out front that I accidentally ended up reading/listening to the abridged version of Dreams From My Father, because I didn’t realize that’s what it was. It’s the only audio version, though, so I stuck with it.