Madeline's Reviews > The Other Side of Truth

The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo
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Jan 18, 10

bookshelves: assigned-reading, kids-and-young-adult
Read in January, 2010

"Sade is slipping her English book into her schoolbag when Mama screams. Two sharp cracks splinter the air. She hears her father's fierce cry, rising, falling.
'No! No!'
The revving of a car engine and skidding of tires smother his voice.
...Papa is kneeling in the driveway, Mama partly curled up against him. One bare leg stretches out in front of her. His strong hands grip her, trying to halt the growing scarlet monster. But it has already spread down her bright white nurse's uniform. It stains the earth around them.
A few seconds, that is all. Later, it will always seem much longer.
"

Hmm. Can you say, intense opening?

My class this semester is focusing on young adult literature that deals with hardship, death, trauma, etc (we're reading at least four Holocaust books) and weren't exactly eased into this with The Other Side of Truth. It's narrated by 12-year-old Sade, who lives in Nigeria with her parents and younger brother. Her father is a journalist, one of the few who's willing to speak out against the corrupt government, and because of this two gunmen visit the family's home one morning. They try to shoot Sade's father, but hit and kill her mother instead. Dad decides it's high time to get the fuck outta Dodge, so he arranges for the kids to be smuggled out of the country and into London, where they'll stay with their uncle until their dad can join then.
Unfortunately, Sade and her brother Femi arrive in London, are left alone, and find out that their uncle is missing. Eventually they are placed in foster care and sent to school. This all has a happy ending, but things are pretty intense and depressing until then.

The writing is good (it should be, judging by how many awards this book has won) even if it gets repetitive after awhile. Sade has a habit of giving adults nicknames, like "Police Business Woman," "Video Man," and "Cool Gaze," which got old after the second time, and later on Naidoo is pretty determined to make us see that Sade's struggles against two bullies at her school are a parallel to the corrupt government in her home country - but these are all minor complaints. For the most part, it was a very sad but well-done story. Probably not for kids under 10, though, what with all the shooting and stuff.

Read for: Social Justice in Young Adult Literature
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia I think you're going to like this class.


Madeline Definitely. Hell, it could be a calculus class and I'd still love it, because the professor is British. Every time she speaks I have to resist the urge to giggle and clap my hands delightedly.


message 3: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Madeline wrote: "Definitely. Hell, it could be a calculus class and I'd still love it, because the professor is British. Every time she speaks I have to resist the urge to giggle and clap my hands delightedly. "
Have you called anyone "a bloody wanker" in her presence yet?




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