Extended Audio Sample

Download Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Rainbows End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm Audiobook, by Lauren St. John Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (371 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Lauren St. John Narrator: Bianca Amato Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2017 ISBN: 9781440742842
Regular Price: $29.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

This is a story about a paradise lost…. About an African dream that began with a murder…

In 1978, in the final, bloodiest phase of the Rhodesian civil war, eleven-year-old Lauren St John moves with her family to Rainbow’s End, a wild, beautiful farm and game reserve set on the banks of a slowflowing river. The house has been the scene of a horrific attack by guerrillas, and when Lauren’s family settles there, a chain of events is set in motion that will change her life irrevocably.

Rainbow’s End captures the overwhelming beauty and extraordinary danger of life in the African bush. Lauren’s childhood reads like a girl’s own adventure story. At the height of the war, Lauren rides through the wilderness on her horse, Morning Star, encountering lions, crocodiles, snakes, vicious ostriches, and mad cows. Many of the animals are pets, including Miss Piggy and Bacon and an elegant giraffe named Jenny. The constant threat of ruthless guerrillas prowling the land underscores everything, making each day more dangerous, vivid, and prized than the last.

After Independence, Lauren comes to the bitter realization that she’d been on the wrong side of the civil war. While she and her family believed that they were fighting for democracy over Communism, others saw the war as black against white. And when Robert Mugabe comes into power, he oversees the torture and persecution of thousands of members of an opposing tribe and goes on to become one of Africa’s legendary dictators. The ending of this beautiful memoir is a fist to the stomach as Lauren realizes that she can be British or American, but she cannot be African. She can love it — be willing to die for it — but she cannot claim Africa because she is white.

Download and start listening now!

ahqt

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin | 1/30/2014

    " I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars. This book is the story of Lauren St. John's childhood growing up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) as part of the white "colonialist-type" farming community that existing prior to black majority rule. She does a beautiful job explaining what it was like growing up as part of this community, the culture of the community (the good and the bad), how it was to live on the land and her attachment to the land, etc. She does a particularly good job explaining the "culture of war" in her community, and how it shaped her identity and the identity of the white community in Rhodesia, and how that identity falls apart once white rule is dismantled in Zimbabwe. I enjoyed reading about Lauren's childhood, experiencing what it was like to live on Rainbow's End, as well as having an "in" into what the white community thought back in the 1970s and 1980s. And it was interesting to read about her thoughts and experiences as everything changed when the Independence movement won and black majority rule began. What I didn't particularly enjoy were what I felt were gaps in the book --areas where I wanted more: research into what was happening from the African side in the 1970s and 1980s to serve as background to her story for the reader; more detail regarding *why* she becomes SO disillusioned with her father late in the story (she hints at it, but gives very little detail); information about what happens to her family (where do her sister and mother end up, and does her father remain in Zimbabwe forever); and information about what happens to Lauren after the book ends (since she so often mentions her dreams for what she wants to be when she's an adult). I liked the book, especially the first half of the book focusing on Lauren's childhood. But I feel that the last third of the book was more rushed and left various issues hanging without resolution. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 12/31/2013

    " It was interesting enough that I got through it. The visuals it conjures up are very nice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julisa | 12/28/2013

    " A very sad book. Her Africa was a very different place than mine, but even so, there were enough similarities to make me feel a twinge of homesickness here and there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 12/20/2013

    " In my "African" reading period. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Maddaus | 12/16/2013

    " I really enjoy books about Africa and this one was especially meaningful. Like Alexandra Fuller who wrote "Let's not go to the Dogs Tonight", Lauren St. John came of age during the Rhodesian war. At the age where her adolescence would require her to question her world and the values around her--her world and the values around her were shown to all the world to be lies. The book is very well written and it is easy to enter Lauren's head and share her awe at the natural wonders around her as well as her confusion by societal deceit suffusing the country. I completely recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liv | 12/12/2013

    " Brought back lots of memories of my time at boarding school in Zimbabwe. An interesting read... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 11/25/2013

    " Lauren St. John is an excellent writer, and she brought the sights, sounds, and smells of Africa to each and every page. I loved this book from start to finish, and I would highly recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diana M. Hawkins | 11/11/2013

    " An excellent memoir of life during troubled times during the bush war in Rhodesia and birth of Zimbabwe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenna | 10/3/2013

    " I wonder if this book is any good!! I will probaly like it because it's written by Lauren St. John!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elisabeth | 7/11/2013

    " A very interesting memoir about growing up in Rhodesia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shawn | 12/4/2012

    " about her families and their farm in Rhodesia in the 1960s to 1980 (now Zimbabwe) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dawn | 6/9/2012

    " This book is an interesting memoir of growing up in a place that no longer exists. That world is long gone and she acknowledges that the world she misses was not a good or fair one, but one she loved all the same. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teri | 4/3/2012

    " I liked this book. Picked it up in South Africa. I'm not sure I would have found it so interesting had I not just been in South Africa, but it's a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marian | 11/8/2011

    " A beautiful, haunting and heart-wrenching coming-of-age story for both the writer and her beloved country. I could not put it down. My daydreams are now filled with visions of the African bush and giraffes at sunset. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 10/1/2011

    " Memoir of a kid growing up in Zimbabwe in an unusual family. Like most books about growing up in Africa, I liked it (with envy) and found the stories interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noel | 6/30/2011

    " Excellent background on Lauren St. John who wrote a series of outstanding children's books based in Africa "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 12/25/2010

    " Interesting but a very slow read that sudenly speeds up at the end-almost too quickly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 11/17/2010

    " Memoir of a kid growing up in Zimbabwe in an unusual family. Like most books about growing up in Africa, I liked it (with envy) and found the stories interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 9/29/2010

    " I hope to write a review at some point. This book was really quite good, and enlightening as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pinky | 9/27/2010

    " a story of growing up on a farm in rhodesia,brings back all the idiocy of despotic heads of stste,before ,during and after the rise of mugabe "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Juanita | 9/18/2010

    " This really captured me.
    Hope she writes more.
    Interesting that Alexandra
    Fuller's "Let's not go out
    with the Dogs Tonight"
    was writing of the same
    period in Africa. Both
    beautifully written.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julisa | 11/20/2009

    " A very sad book. Her Africa was a very different place than mine, but even so, there were enough similarities to make me feel a twinge of homesickness here and there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kw | 11/18/2009

    " Beautifully written memoir of the author's childhood and teen
    years in war-torn Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. The family structure, settings,
    and characters are colorful and intriguing. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cindy | 8/4/2009

    " It was interesting enough that I got through it. The visuals it conjures up are very nice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sheila | 7/9/2009

    " This book is great. Gives a wonderful and insightful picture of life in Rhodesia prior to the end of British rule and then after. A true story told through the eyes of a teenage girl. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mandy | 6/11/2009

    " I read it because the Author mention my brother-in-law in the book and was at school with him. I really enjoyed, possibly because I could picture a lot of what and who she was writing about. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janette | 5/23/2009

    " A true story about growing up white in Africa during the 1960s. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Lauren St. John

Lauren St. John was born in Kadoma, Zimbabwe (formerly Gatooma, Rhodesia) in December 1966. After studying journalism in Africa, she moved to London, where she was for many years golf correspondent to The Sunday Times. She has written several books on sports, and is the author of Hardcore Troubadour: The Life and Near Death of Steve Earle and the award-winning African Adventures series for children.

About the Narrator

Bianca Amato, winner of ten Earphones Awards and the Audie Award for best narration, is an actress born and raised in South Africa. Trained at the University of Cape Town’s Drama school, she went on to work in theater and television in South Africa before moving to New York in 2002.