Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Signed, Hopelessly in Love

 Amo, a student at Puso Ka Junior Secondary School is a serious journalist. She writes the hard pieces, like “Is writing notes harmful?” Then she’s given the fluff assignment of becoming “Aunt Lulu” and answering questions in the school newspaper. She, for sure, does not want to be Aunt Lulu. Then a letter arrives and it’s signed “Hopelessly in Love” and her life changes. She discovers she’s good at giving advice. But can she handle the consequences of her own advice?

Signed, Hopelessly in Love was written by Lauri Kubuitsile, an award-winning author who’s written 14 published works of fiction, primarily for children. This was the first one I’d read. I liked it for several different reasons.

Kubuitsile lives in Botswana and the book is set there. I know little about Botswana and loved getting to read about the people there, as well as the setting. Life there is different from here – and yet, not so different. Parents love their children there as much as they do here. Botswanan kids want the same things American kids want. And childhood friendships are lasting, no matter where you live.

It was fun reading this story from Amo’s viewpoint. Amo lays her heart out for us to see. She’s being raised by her grandmother whom she loves and respects but doesn’t always agree with. Things don’t always go her way and, like all of us, she messes up sometimes. You can identify with her when things go wrong and she loses more than just her heart.

I think this would be a great book for pre-teens or early teens. And don’t be hesitant because it’s set in Botswana. No matter where you live, feelings and dreams are the same. Plus, it’s always good to read about characters and places far away, places that may look different, but the people are not.

Places to go to purchase Signed, Hopelessly in Love:

Book Depository (limited availability) (preorder)

I give Signed, Hopelessly in Love a rating of Hel-of-a-Character.
FTC Disclaimer: Signed, Hopelessly in Love was sent to me by the author, Lauri Kubuitsile. That did not influence my review. Nor was my review influenced by Lauri being here this coming Wednesday to answer some questions about her writing. [Notice how I slid in a plug for a Q&A with her? Hope you all come back for it.] Speaking of coming back, here is a message for all of you. (I composed it using the Glossary in the back of Signed, Hopelessly in Love.) Dumela, tsala. Tla kwano the day after kamoso. There will be magwinya for all….I’m hoping I didn’t just write something that will get me kicked off the Internet. Wait a minute. That might be a good thing. I’d see my family more often. Okay, maybe not such a good thing.


  1. Wow Helen you learned Setswana pretty quickly!! I'm impressed. And thanks for the lovely review!

  2. It sounds like a good read it's always interesting to get a glimpse of another culture through a book's setting.
    Your disclaimer reminded me of an old TV commercial with a woman offering a pie to new neighbors and mistranslating to, "I baked your dog."

  3. Gracias Lauri. See, I speak Spanish, too.

    Laura, I had totally forgotten about that commercial. Very funny.

  4. So multilingual Helen! :)

  5. Dumela, Mma! I love the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books because of the setting. I'm looking forward to reading SIGNED. :)

    And I once tried to say, "I am hungry" in Spanish. When my daughter finished rolling around on the floor, helpless with laughter, she told me I had said, "I want a man."

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  6. I like settings from across the world. A reader can learn much about the character with backdrops from places like Botswana. And thanks for plugging an image of my book!

  7. Thanks for the good review, Helen. I love the books of Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, which are set in Botswana; and because I now have two published juvenile novels, I look forward to reading Hopelessly in Love.

  8. Well, I won't lie and say I'm going to read the book ... but it is interesting to learn about different cultures. As to your linguistic acrobatics ... you have more courage than I ... I get nervous leaving remarks in English.

  9. I couldn't even locate Botswana on a map!

  10. Score another perfect ten for the disclaimer!

  11. Diane,

    Botswana is located just above South Africa.

  12. Helen, I love reading books set in other parts of the world. Writing gives you a lot of insight into people. Like you, when you read a book by an author of another country, you see the similarities as well as the differences. To me that's fascinating.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE


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