Author: Christie Watson
Genre: Literary Fiction
Subject: Life in Nigeria
Publisher: Other Press
Release date: May, 10, 2011
Length: 448 pages
I got this book: From the publisher for review through NetGalley
"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."
I have to admit that I often stay clear of books with more than 300 pages. And Tiny Sunbirds, with almost 450, isn't a book that I would have picked up normally. But I am so glad I did! In only one day I had read through 300 pages and I couldn't wait until I could continue the next day. It was a real page turner, interesting from the beginning till the end. Blessing was a really likeable character and I liked how she developed and grew to accept and even love her new life. While the life there was hard for me to imagine, it was all very believable. The only thing that felt a bit quick to me, was the way Blessing adjusted herself to the current situation. This felt a bit weird to me because her life situation did change drastically. However this was the only point of criticism I have on this book. Even with 450 pages this is a very quick read, shocking at times but also very powerful. In my opinion a must read!
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