"Things Even Gonzalez Can't Fix" is the shockingly brilliant debut memoir of a 24-year-old Greek South African girl, Christy Chilimigras. It is nothing like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Although there are old women in black plucking stray hairs from their chins, the nuts in the baklava appear by way of a dash of crack cocaine, a sneaky brand of sexual abuse and cereal Tupperwares, packed to the brim with dagga. It is also very funny.
It is the story of a young girl growing up in Johannesburg in a space of pure chaos, raised by two addict parents. In reality Christy, otherwise known as Mouse, is raised by Tiger, her older sister. Their childhood is strange, made up of crack excursions to Hillbrow on second weekends at 3am, courtesy of their father, and a dope-smoking mother, Old Lass, who raises the two young girls single-handedly while starting her own business. Tiger and Mouse’s worlds are overturned when Old Lass proceeds to marry an alcoholic control freak under an unsuspecting tree, only to get arrested following an invasion by the Hawks.
“Children of addicts are curious things. We are deathly serious. We tinker on the edge of the worst case scenario. We are manic in our joy. We mean to dip our toes, but rather dive head first into extremes. We despise drugs … and people who do drugs. So what then does it say about me when at 16 I fall desperately in love with a boy who perpetually has a joint dangling from his lips?”
"Things Even Gonzalez Can't Fix" is also a disturbingly brutal story about two sisters, raised by a father who has been sexualising them since they were toddlers.
“We are desperate for answers and the knowledge of where to place our discomfort. If it feels like abuse and hurts like abuse, but it doesn’t look like the abuse we read about in magazines, does it even count?”
At 16 Christy falls in love with Olive Oil, a dopehead addict, then, at 22, with a much older sado masochist, The Italian, who introduces her to a world of dangerously rough sex.
“The book is my attempt at reclaiming my sanity and sexuality, which was colonised a long time ago. It involved countless bowls of pasta, glasses of wine (which best you believe I overthought) and a compulsion to be honest; very honest. Like oh sweet Jesus it hurts to spill your guts. It hurts to be this honest.”
A book that simply pulsates with edgy originality, that unleashes a Millennial’s unapologetic perspective of our world, Christy Chilimigras is a new voice that demands to be read. Not since Kopano Matlwa’s "Coconut" has a book promised to shake perspectives and overturn the way we see things.
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