Wow. This is one of those books that really sucked me into the story. I found myself thinking of the characters and their problems even when I was doing the most mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning. It's a story that stays in your mind long after you turn the last page.
Let me try to sum it up real quick. Blessing is a twelve year old girl and narrator of the story. Her and her brother Ezikiel are forced to leave the only home they have known and move in with their grandparents in rural Nigeria because their father walked out and their mother has no where else to go. Blessing at first is repulsed by her new home, by the outhouses and the flies, by the unsanitary water, by the lack of soap and lack of electricity. Ezikiel almost starves because of his food allergies and the family's inability to buy the right cooking oil. (BUT grandfather always has a bottle of Remy Martin.. hm.)
However, Blessing makes the most of things. Despite the dysfunctionality around her, she finds happiness in her grandma's stories and becomes an assistance midwife at only thirteen years old! This brings up some shocking, but intriguing information regarding genital mutilation and cutting. Real eye opener for me.
Meanwhile, Blessing's mother is so wrapped up in herself, that she doesn't notice her son is changing and not for the better. Matter of fact, everyone except Grandma is too wrapped up in themselves to notice. Grandfather brings in wife number 2. Wife number 2 is all about lycra and mourning (DRAMA QUEEN!), and Blessing's mother is all about Dan: her white boyfriend. This white boyfriend opens a whole nother can of worms...
It's not a happy story, but it's a story that should be heard. Some minor irritations almost caused it to fall short of the five star mark: Grandfather's constant usage of the words, "you see?" Also, Celestine... WAY too dramatic to be believable and everyone sucks their teeth... A LOT. But the ending.. I cried. If a book can do that to me, it gets the five star rating.
I do recommend this and I want to share a laugh out loud moment. When Blessing is observing a group of white men at a wedding, here are her thoughts: "Their stomachs were soft, like women's stomachs, hanging over their trousers. Since working with Grandma, I had grown used to being able to tell, just by looking at the softness of a woman's stomach, how many children she had borne. Some of the men were up to five births-full term."
This was an egalley so there may be changes before its publication date.