Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Review – The Rules by Dianne Case


The Rules is one of those rare novels that offer a no-holds-barred slice of real-life. And Diane doesn’t hold back.

Twins Adam and Jasmine share their time between two homes, one in Manenberg, one in Goodwood. The rules for each household are different.

In Goodwood you wash your hands before dinner.
In Manenberg you don’t talk to strangers and you don’t meddle in other people’s business.

The idea of home has a different meaning for each sibling. Adam wants nothing more than to leave Manenberg. His sister Jasmine thinks he’s crazy. She wishes their father never moved to Goodwood.

It’s beautifully written, but tough. Tough because it shines a spotlight on some hard realities – dogfighting, child abductions, drugs, abuse, poverty, gang violence.

It’s dark, but that’s what makes it beautiful.

Kids learn empathy by experiencing the world from someone else’s viewpoint. This is why I wrote a book from the perspective of the child bomber and not the victim. Books open the shutters.

In a city where gentrification has become a way to paint over the scenes we don’t like, The Rules reminds us that there are still people underneath. And they have an important story to tell.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.


Please register or log in to comment