Ben Aronbach is an outcast in a small town in Northern Transvaal. Furthermore, he is not like them, they are Christian, Afrikaners and he is a Jew. He grows in apartheid South Africa during the time of the State of Emergency. The paradox is when he is learning Hebrew for his bar mitzvah, he is repelled and feels like a foreigner learning a foreign language. Sacks traces the life of Ben using both humour and sad accounts. Even when Ben meets Leo Fein who was his father’s contemporary, he does not know how far reaching their intimacy would be. Leo moves in on Ben’s mother. As Ben grows into a young adult his life is enmeshed in adventure, he finds himself among political fugitives, right wingers and military men. Ben also finds himself having to try and save his family during the last days of apartheid. Fein makes Ben do duties that leave the young man feeling guilty, first he undertook a trip to Moria to meet the leader of the church and they had a meeting with the AWB.
Lucky Packet has all the tools of a brilliant novel set in apartheid South Africa seen from the eyes of a young Jewish child. A brilliant story where this young Jew’s family does not fit anywhere; his family is not religious and they don’t gel with other Jews – he also does not fit in with Afrikaans speaking Christians.