Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.50

Buy for $31.50

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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, 17-year-old Zodwa lives in desperate poverty, under the shadowy threat of a civil war and a growing AIDS epidemic. Eight months pregnant, Zodwa carefully guards secrets that jeopardize her life. 

Across the country, wealthy socialite Ruth appears to have everything her heart desires, but it's what she can't have that leads to her breakdown. Meanwhile, in Zaire, a disgraced former nun, Delilah, grapples with a past that refuses to stay buried. When these personal crises send both middle-aged women back to their rural hometown to heal, the discovery of an abandoned newborn baby upends everything, challenging their lifelong beliefs about race, motherhood, and the power of the past. 

As the mystery surrounding the infant grows, the complicated lives of Zodwa, Ruth, and Delilah become inextricably linked. What follows is a mesmerizing look at family and identity that asks: How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves?

©2019 Bianca Marais (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Lovely....Marais showcases her talent for pulling beauty from the pain of South African history with a strong story and wonderfully imperfect characters." (Publishers Weekly)

"A moving portrait of the choices women can make - and the ones we can't. Beautifully crafted and powerfully drawn, this book had me in tears." (Jill Santopolo, best-selling author of The Light We Lost and More Than Words)

"A story of three remarkable women at crossroads in their own lives against the backdrop of South Africa at the moment of stunning transformation that will keep you reading late into the night. Marais deftly completes a writer's hat trick, leaving you gutted, smiling through tears and soaring with hope." (Steven Rowley, best-selling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor

What listeners say about If You Want to Make God Laugh

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    76
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    84
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    77
  • 4 Stars
    23
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life As We Don’t Know It

Author Bianca Marais is an exceptionally descriptive storyteller. Her concise chapters leaves one wanting to know more and more and more and more. I smiled, chuckled, got insanely mad, disappointed, relieved ... my emotions ran the gamut. Can’t wait for her next book. Also, loved the varied narrators as they brought to life each character. Kudos!!!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well written, excellent audible! Worth the read!

I’ve never read anything by this author before, and only heard of it in another review for a different book. From the beginning, the author does an excellent job foreshadowing without giving away too much or making it predictable. She also does an excellent job of following thru with every story line and doesn’t leave any holes or dangling characters. The story itself is heartbreaking, yet full of hope. Maybe because I was adopted out of foster care, or because the characters are so relatable to my own life, I found them to be believable, and appreciated that the author made sure to look for good, even in tragedy. This is one of the best books I’ve read in the last 5 years. Interestingly enough, also very apropos for the climate of 2020.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED IT!

It was the title that caught my eye and the sample that drew me in. Wonderful story full of loss, love and forgiveness. I was rootng for all of these ladies, but Ruth was my favorite. It's amazing how the power of love can transform.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A captivating, powerful novel

Three strong, yet vulnerable women, each with a painful past, come together in South Africa just as apartheid is ending. Each of these women is a survivor. “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.” The story is told from alternating points of view, “I’ve just come to realize more and more that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. And I’ve never had more plans than I have now.” A riveting, fast-moving, powerful novel, with an intriguing, story line and strong, well-developed characters. Marais does a tremendous job of intermingling their backstories, and their lives. The book's beautiful prose addresses many difficult issues including racism, homophobia, rape, and AIDS. A story of loss and sorry, yet full of love and heart and hope. A story that looks at what exactly it means to be a family. This book captivated me. I loved everything about it, the characters and the storyline. It has been difficult for me to come up with a review for If You Want To Make God Laugh primarily because I’ve been dumbfounded by how much I loved the book. Bianca Marais may be my new favorite author (I’m looking forward to reading her previous book, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words). A strong 5 stars. A must read. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For more book reviews follow me on Instagram at #emptynestreader and on Goodreads. #ifyouwanttomakegodlaugh #biancamarais #gpputnamssons #fiction #historicalfiction #africa #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramalabama #bookstagrammichigan #bookreview #bookreviewer #bookrecommendations #readingbringsjoy #whatimreading #bookclubbook #goodreadschallenge #igbooks #booklove #bookstafam #whatimreading #readingismylife #bookaddicts #februaryreads #audible #audiobook #emptynestreaderaudiobook🎧

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, heartbreaking, inspirational

I couldn’t stop listening. As a South African living in America, it was a reminder of what life used to be like. The authenticity was incredible. The blend of truth and fiction so seamless that I was left wondering how many similar real life stories like this there could actually be. This author’s humor is also wonderful. Thank you for a beautiful, heartbreaking and inspirational story!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-19

Captivating

This book gripped me from the start. Well written, clever & real. South African classic.