If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

If You Want to Make God Laugh

From the author of the beloved Hum If You Don't Know the Words comes a rich, unforgettable story of three unique women in post-Apartheid South Africa who are brought together in their darkest time and discover the ways that love can transcend the strictest of boundaries.In a squatter camp on the outskirts of Johannesburg, seventeen-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eigh...

Details If You Want to Make God Laugh

TitleIf You Want to Make God Laugh
Release DateJul 16th, 2019
PublisherG.P. Putnam's Sons
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Cultural, Africa, Southern Africa, South Africa

Reviews If You Want to Make God Laugh

  • Angela M
    Like her debut novel, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, this second one by Bianca Marais also has a lot to offer. With the backdrop of post apartheid South Africa as Nelson Mandela is elected president, the political environment of the 1990’s is reflected. It depicts the socioeconomic and racial divide of whites and blacks, the have and the have nots, the Aids epidemic, abuses by a Catholic priest, the stigma of homosexuality. It’s about the...
  • BernLuvsBooks (Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas)
    Set in post apartheid South Africa as Mandela is elected President If You Want to Make God Laugh takes us on an emotional journey of love, loss, racial divide, civil unrest, injustice, family and motherhood. All I can say is, WOW! These women captured me completely. This is a story full of both sorrow and heart. The vulnerability of these women will tug at your heartstrings. They suffer, endure loss after loss and still stand up strong - refusing...
  • marilyn
    What a beautiful, heartbreaking book, of three very different women, brought together because of need and the love of a little black baby. Two of those women are white sisters and the other woman is his mother, who had her baby snatched from her at birth, because her mother loved her so much and wanted the best for her daughter's baby. The book takes place in the 1990s Johannesburg, in post-Apartheid South Africa, during the raging and misunderst...
  • Travel.with.a.book
    There's no doubt that Bianca is one of my favourite debut Author so reading an ARC of her second book is a really indescribable feeling and for that I want to thank Jordan from Putnam and the Author for providing me with this wonderful book!If You Want To Make God Laugh takes place in South Africa during the late '90s and the Author's portraying is so fascinating!.The prose that you'll read in this novel is really intriguing filled with some inte...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    I knew within the first couple of pages of If You Want to Make God Laugh I was reading something special. The writing instantly drew me in, as did the characters’ stories.If You Want to Make God Laugh is the story of three strong women. When we meet Zodwa, she’s seventeen and pregnant, living in a squatter camp outside of Johannesburg. People were living in these camps to look for work and escape peril, only to find South Africa on the verge ...
  • Bianca
    For fans of ‘Hum If You Don’t Know the Words’ who were hoping for the story to continue... this isn’t a sequel but look out for Beauty and Robin who make cameo appearances in ‘If You Want to Make God Laugh’.I absolutely loved writing this book and I really hope you’ll enjoy reading it.(The five star review is meant to be a joke, by the way 😉)
  • Katie B
    Heartbreaking and beautiful. I've read the author's other book, Hum If You Don't Know the Words and with both books she does an excellent job at weaving historical facts into a story with complex characters dealing with heavy issues. While I enjoyed both books, I think this one is slightly better. If you haven't read anything by this author before, I strongly recommend giving her a try.This is the story of three women living in post-Apartheid Sou...
  • Jennifer Blankfein
    Loved it so much! Photos for this review and other reviews and recommendations on https://booknationbyjen.wordpress.com.I loved the author’s debut, Hum if you Don’t Know the Words, and feel the same about this wonderful upcoming novel out this summer. The beauty and strength of the South African women will stick with you…PREORDER your copy today!If You Want to Make God Laugh is the fast moving and compelling story of three ladies, Zodwa, Ru...
  • Faith
    This book takes place around 20 years after the events in “Hum if You Don’t Know the Words” and it shares some of the same characters. However, it is a standalone story about 3 women, each of whom has had a difficult experience with motherhood. Coincidentally, this is the second book I finished today in which a mother can not claim her relationship to her child. This book was sometimes moving (although it also sometimes felt manipulative an...
  • Chris Wolak
    I loved the characters in Bianca's first novel, Hum If You Don't Know the Words, so much that I wanted her to write a sequel. I'm so glad she didn't because then I wouldn't have met Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah. Such fantastic characters and an amazing story. Painful to read at times but full of heart and hope. More thoughts here: https://chriswolak.com/2019/07/16/if-...
  • Candie
    This is a heartfelt and emotional character driven book about three women and the secrets and events that connect them. It deals with so many subjects such as grief, poverty, privilege, racism, motherhood, forgiveness and the connections and love between family that never goes away, no matter how long it's been since you've seen them or what might have been said/done.The three separate points of view really showed how the same situation can be se...
  • Kirsten
    Can I please give this book 6 stars? Forget the sophomore slum, If You Want to Make God Laugh is a truly spectacular follow-up to Bianca Marais’s first novel, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words. Marais’ emotional depiction of South Africa during the late ‘90s results in a stunning novel with depth. She covers racism, homophobia, the AIDS epidemic, and corruption in church, with eye-opening frankness and heart. Her characters take root in you...
  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    I love it when an author comes along and unexpectedly blows my socks off. In 2017, Bianca Marais left me utterly sockless after I read her debut novel, Hum If You Don't Know The Words. It was a beautifully written story that tackled big topics with compelling characters, heart and compassion.So, you can imagine how excited I was when I heard Marais had a new book coming out (Hint: I looost it!). So, did I love it just as much as Hum? Let's just s...
  • Sonja Arlow
    The author may be living in Canada now, but she has very deep roots in South Africa and it shines through her writing. She has so much love and understanding for this beautiful country I call home.The dawn of the New South Africa in 1994 was euphoric but also a huge disillusionment for the poorest of the poor. Issues such as rape, HIV, ever present racism and cultural taboos are all explored but it is balanced out with unconditional love, forgive...
  • Michelle
    "As women, we're told our worth and our value, and the many ways in which we fall short of others' expectations; we're told why we're whores and why society can't tolerate whores. We're reminded of the ways we dishonor the unwritten contract we didn't know we signed on the day of our birth: a contract in which we agreed to toe the line and know our place simply because we are the fairer sex." If You Want to Make God Laugh is about three women who...
  • Antoinette
    This book begins just when Nelson Mandela is voted in, so post apartheid. But saying that apartheid is over doesn’t make it true! Racism for most Afrikaners is still as strong as ever. Much as this novel touches on what is happening in South Africa at that time (1993-94), it is not the main focus of the novel.What is the focus are three women- Ruth, Delilah and Zodwa. All three are fighting their demons, but they all come together for one commo...
  • Robin Robertson
    So Bianca Marais, I put the blame squarely on you! Your book has kept me reading way too late at night, caused me to be late for or miss entirely appointments because I had to read 'just one more chapter'. Friends and family are waiting for me to return calls, texts, and emails, because I couldn't\wouldn't out the book down. Finally, I hold you responsible for all the crying, heartbreak, laughter, and joy I experienced reading your book.Okay, I r...
  • Mark
    “As women, we're told our worth and our value, and the many ways in which we fall short of others' expectations; we're told why we're whores and why society can't tolerate whores. We're reminded of the ways we dishonor the unwritten contract we didn't know we signed on the day of our birth: a contract in which we agreed to toe the line and know our place simply because we are the fairer sex.”“'Oh, please. Stop being a racist apologist. If y...
  • Linda
    As much of a WOW! as Hum If You Don’t Know the Words. If I wasn't sold on Bianca Marais after meeting her at Booktopia last year...If I wasn't sold on Bianca Marais after reading Hum If You Don’t Know the Words...This book will do it.Well developed characters, situations, resolutions, and explanation of a culture that I will only experience in books.I am so thankful for Net Galley allowing me the pleasure of reading an ARC for my honest rev...
  • Gregory Baird
    Ugh. Let’s do this.So I just finished a book and I absolutely hated it. I was tempted to give it two stars because technically, it’s fine. Like, the writing is fine. The characters are fine. And I can see how many people would read this book and enjoy it, but I found it annoying and at times even offensive. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. So one star it is.Really quickly, this is the story of three women in South Africa in the m...
  • Deb
    Fate (or was it destiny) brought Bianca Marais to the Booktopia weekend 2 years ago as a last minute addition to the lineup. I wasn't familiar with her or her book Hum If You Don’t Know the Words. She was amazing and I fell in love with this book. I wanted more! I was so excited that a new book was coming out.I immediately dove into If You Want to Make God Laugh as soon as I picked it up from the bookstore. I had to read at least part of it bef...
  • Kari Ann Sweeney
    ‘If You Want To Make God Laugh’ follows the lives of three strong female characters as they live their truth against the complicated background of post-Apartheid South Africa. I was completely invested in each character. The writing was so vivid that I felt as though I was in the story alongside Ruth, Delilah and Zowda.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀What I admire about Marais is her ability to meet tough topics head on while still allowing light ...
  • Megan C.
    “What matters in that brief shiny moment is that they are there at all and that their hearts beat in proximity to each other. Each day is a blessing; each breath of air, a gift.” - Bianca Marais, If You Want To Make God Laugh #partner @putnambooks•There isn’t much that can make me happier than the connections I’ve made here on Bookstagram, both with fellow readers and with authors, and @biancamarais_author is one of my FAVORITES.•I’...
  • Nina Carboni
    Excellent! I had high hopes for this bc I loved this author’s debut, Hum if You Don’t Know the Words and I wasn’t let down. This author somehow tackles the hardest of subject matter without making it too much to bear. The misery that these characters face runs the gamut of the worst of the worst and yet their humanity and hope and the universal want for a better life for themselves and their children make it so you see yourself in them and ...
  • Alesa
    This novel set in South Africa, as apartheid is officially over and Nelson Mandela is being elected president, is fascinating. It looks at numerous important issues, such as interracial relationships, motherhood, sisterhood, the power of the church, lesbianism, rape, AIDS, neo-Nazi gangs and more. It is definitely a woman's book in this regard; all main characters are female. It has a tightly crafted plot, much like a jigsaw puzzle, where every p...
  • Charmaine Shepherd
    I think I can safely say that this is my best read of 2018 and probably my all time favourite book. I found the characters so easy to connect to and I laughed and cried and then laughed and cried again. The book touched me so much that I went back and read it again. It is such a beautiful story of human frailty and challenging the lifelong beliefs that we all hold.
  • Onceinabluemoon
    5 stars, 5 stars, 5 stars! Why I’m I screaming this, because I almost quit the book at 20% not liking it at all! As the story started talking about Mandela i tuned in and suddenly I thought it was a fantastic story! I even recall getting chills one time, and patting my heart with such beautiful lines, the story was a known path, but it was exquisitely written and I adored all the characters and absolutely loved this book.
  • Kate
    I loved Bianca Marais' debut novel Hum if You Don't Know the Words, but I may love this, her second, even more. The story of two older white sisters and a young black woman who form an unbreakable bond in 1990s South Africa kept me up half the night. The story takes place immediately before Nelson Mandela's unprecedented election as President of South Africa and continues from that point. While so much has changed, day to day life for poor black ...
  • Karen
    I have been waiting to read this book since I preordered it back in April 2019. Writing my review here is bittersweet. This means I have to wait awhile for Bianca Marais to write another fantastic book! (No pressure here Bianca) I loved Hum If You Don't Know the Words so much and I absolutely loved If You Want To Make God Laugh! I will remember Zodwa, Delilah, Ruth, Mandla and Jezebel (Shadow) for a long time. Reading about AIDS, rape and the can...
  • Beyondthebookends
    Bianca Marais’s sophomore novel, If You Want to Make God Laugh, is a brilliant work of literary fiction that has left me in its wake weeks after I finished. Thank you so much for my copy of this book!!! This story examines difficult topics with such love and sensitivity. From AIDS and poverty to racism and homophobia, this isn’t a book that you can skim over parts. Every word has its place but, it is written so poetically that I found myself ...