Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
3
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Winner of the 2011 Costa First Novel Award

When their mother catches their father with another woman, twelve year-old Blessing and her fourteen-year-old brother, Ezikiel, are forced to leave their comfortable home in Lagos for a village in the Niger Delta, to live with their mother's family. Without running water or electricity, Warri is at first a nightmare for Blessing. Her mother is gone all day and works suspiciously late into the night to pay the children's school fees. Her brother, once a promising student, seems to be falling increasingly under the influence of the local group of violent teenage boys calling themselves Freedom Fighters. Her grandfather, a kind if misguided man, is trying on Islam as his new religion of choice, and is even considering the possibility of bringing in a second wife.
   But Blessing's grandmother, wise and practical, soon becomes a beloved mentor, teaching Blessing the ways of the midwife in rural Nigeria. Blessing is exposed to the horrors of genital mutilation and the devastation wrought on the environment by British and American oil companies. As Warri comes to feel like home, Blessing becomes increasingly aware of the threats to its safety, both from its unshakable but dangerous traditions and the relentless carelessness of the modern world. Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away is the witty and beautifully written story of one family's attempt to survive a new life they could never have imagined, struggling to find a deeper sense of identity along the way.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, c2011
ISBN: 9781590514665
Branch Call Number: WATS
Characteristics: 438 p. ; 21 cm

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BPLNextBestAdults Feb 23, 2012

This book opens in present day Lagos where life is good for 12- year-old Blessing… until the day her mom comes home and finds Blessing’s father cheating on her. Blessing, her brother and her mother are evicted from the gated community in which they’d been living and are forced to go live with her mom’s family on the Niger Delta. Blessing is devasted by the poverty in which they are now living as well as by the violence of the region – from the ever-present thugs to the police who harass people on behalf of the multi-national oil companies. This is a coming of age story of a young girl who learns to cope with her situation. This would be a great cross-over book to suggest to Young Adults as well.

k
KarenChadwick
Feb 22, 2012

A good read

LMcShaneCLE Jan 28, 2012

Christie Watson won the prestigious Costa Award for her first novel http://www.costabookawards.com/pdfs/FirstNovelWinner.pdf
Her story will resonate especially with teens struggling with identity after the divorce of their parents. The Niger Delta locale and the clash of cultures there will also spark book discussion.

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