Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Then She was Born” as Want to Read:
Then She was Born
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Then She was Born

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  46 reviews

2017 Award Winning B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree and Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Literature.

Then She Was Born is more than a novel. It’s an international human rights awareness campaign supported by eleven Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis. Based on an inconceivable reality for many in the world today, Then S

Kindle Edition, 322 pages
Published January 9th 2017 by #HelpAfricanAlbinos (first published July 4th 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Then She was Born, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Then She was Born

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  58 ratings  ·  46 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Clare O'Beara
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, africa
The Italian author does a convincing job of portraying the events in his fictional character's life, telling us that everything he relates has happened to some African person with albinism. Adimu is born to a poor village in Tanzania, but her pale skin and hair cause her parents to reject her. When Adimu's mother is dismissed by her husband, only the infant's grandmother is brave enough to protect the baby from those in the village who would kill her.

Primitive customs hold that a body part of a
Jennifer (JC-S)
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
‘The birth of a white shadow is a bad sign.’

In a small community in Africa, a girl is born. She is the first child of Juma and Sefu, but they are horrified by her appearance. She is different, an albino, in a superstitious community where such children would traditionally be abandoned. Sefu’s mother, Nkamba, is given permission to care for the little girl, whom she names Adimu.

Adimu is shunned by most within the village: she is viewed as a ‘thing’ rather than as a person. Her body parts are cons
Mary Maddox
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cristiano Gentili wrote his novel Then She Was Born to dramatize the plight of albinos in traditional African societies. Often albinos are killed as babies. If they live, they're ostracized and sometimes hunted and killed. Although the novel is too didactic for my taste, it's competently written and entertaining. Gentili's prose is graceful, precise, and occasionally poetic. His lush descriptions bring the characters and settings to live.

The protagonist, a girl named Adimu, is unforgettable in
David Watson
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to even know where to start when describing Then She Was Born by Cristiano Gentli. The description doesn't do it justice. This is a complex novel that has several sub plots and themes, but at the heart of the story is a young girl trying to find where she fits within society. The story begins with an albino baby born in a small community in Africa. The parents disown her and the village wishes to kill her because she will bring bad fortune. The baby's grandmother Nkamba saves the infan ...more
Cindy Marsch
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star-reviews
Christiano Gentili seems to have philanthropy in his blood, judging from his past and present activities with different human rights organizations, and that “love of man” shines through in his tender portrayal of a young girl bewildered by her own birth. From the moment her parents laid eyes on their daughter they rejected her—for this baby was born white—albino—to an African tribal family. Their cultural history could not admit of the concept that this was a human baby. No, she was a "zeru zeru ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
The plight of the zeru zeru - novel set in TANZANIA

A zeru zeru (phantom, meaning albino) baby is born to Juma. Tanzania has the highest birth rate of babies with albinism according to the novel, and such white skin in the local populace is associated with bad spirits. Albino babies are often left to die or put out to be trampled upon by a herd of cows. At other times the hair from the head of an albino is revered and if wound into fishermen’s nets will enhance a catch. Dead or alive, the body of
Wayne Walker
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it
In the village of Murutanga on the island of Ukerewe, in Lake Victoria, Tanzania, a nation of Africa, a girl is born to Sefu and his second wife Juma. The child is an albino or zeru-zeru. According to local superstition, albinos are non-persons, evil omens of bad luck, and good for nothing but to be killed so that their body parts can be used in magic charms. Both Sefu and Juma reject the baby. The local witch doctor Zuberi wants the girl for his spells, but with the help of Mosi or Father Andre ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The shocking tale of how being different can also be fatal…

My thanks go out to the author for my copy of this book. Thanks for sharing this haunting novel…

When Adimu was conceived, it was a time of rejoicing for her parents and tribe. The pregnancy went well. And then Adimu was born and the world went mad…

This is the gripping story of how superstition and fear can lead to people who are different being treated as though they are not human. Adimu represents many other children who are born into a
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

It's not easy to find a good starting ground to begin discussion of Then She Was Born, a novel meant to raise awareness about an injustice and horrific issue that is all too common in certain parts of the world and is supported by both the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis.

Then She was Born is about a young girl named Adimu who born to a couple in Tanzania. She is perfectly normal--except, of course, for the fact that she is born albino. In this culture,
Charles Ray
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In a little Tanzanian village a child is born, but her parents’ joy quickly turns to horror when they see that she’s different in a way that brings bad luck to the entire village, for she’s an albino. In many African cultures, albinos are objects of scorn and hatred, neither human nor animal. The father rejects her, refusing even to give her a name, and the villagers want her taken to the forest and left to die. But, her grandmother, remembering her own terrible experience when she gave birth to ...more
Becca Chopra
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Then She Was Born is both a novel and a wake-up call to join an international human rights awareness campaign (also supported by eleven Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis).

This call for racial healing is based on an inconceivable reality of the living conditions of Africans with albinism, but one that author Cristiano Gentili found to be true during a fact-finding trip to Tanzania.

He fictionalized the plight of African albinos into the heart-breaking, shocking story of
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Then She Was Born: Born to be different – Written by Cristiano Gentili – Reviewed 2/8/18
How do you survive when you’re so different?

A child is born, and the joy of her parents turns to horror. The child is different, in a way that will bring bad luck to their superstitious community. The tradition should be for her to be abandoned, but Nkamba, the grandmother, is allowed to care for her. Naming her Adimu, Nkamba raises her as her own. Adimu is constantly marginalized and shunned by the community
Carol Kean
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The opening scenes of this novel illustrate a painful truth that is not widely known:
"...violence against people accused of sorcery is very much still with us. Far from fading away, thanks to digital interconnectedness and economic development, witch hunting has become a growing, global problem... people accused of witchcraft in Africa, the Pacific and Latin America, and even among immigrant communities in the United States and Western Europe. Researchers ...have estimated the murders of suppose
Awesome Indies Reviewers
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Then She Was Born is a book with a number of endorsements from high-profile individuals including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama. This will likely be enough to get most people to pick it up and give it a chance, but the true draw of this book is an incredibly well-written and emotional tale of life for a few individuals with a rare birth defect in an area where society hasn’t developed a way to deal with them. To the contrary, this is a world in which these individuals are hunted and killed bec ...more
Cathryn Wellner
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
In March 2017 four albino children from Tanzania flew into JFK Airport. They arrived for a purpose, to be fitted for new prosthetics. Their missing limbs had been chopped off and sold at high prices for their supposedly magical powers. Even before they were mutilated, they lived as outcasts, feared and despised, believed to be accursed.

Cultural beliefs have incredible staying power, despite campaigns to counteract them. Italian humanitarian and writer Cristiano Gentili's searingly intense novel
Lynelle Clark
I received the book from the author for an honest review.

This is a book that gives you much to think about. There're so many topics touched and you're become more aware of the struggles of the people in Africa.

In Africa, cultureral believes and traditional doctors plays a big role in society. These believes could break or build a community but in this touching story the author showed through excellent storyteling how these believes can destroy a person that were not the same as them.

Albimism is
The story of an albino child in Tanzania, Then She Was Born is a heartbreaking novel, filled with fascinating, sometimes horrifying detail, and peopled with convincingly flawed characters. While the plight of a child who doesn’t know if she’s white or black--and doesn’t realize her life hangs by an ever weakening spiritual thread--is fascinating on its own, there’s also a universal sense to this novel. How do we, in our comfortably civilized cities, treat those who don’t fit in? Who do we blame ...more
Sherry Ellis
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The birth of a child should be a time of rejoicing. But in a small village in Tanzania, Africa, the birth of an albino girl was a day of disgust and humiliation. The villagers considered this sweet girl a "zeru zeru:" something not even human. Then She Was Born, is the story of this little girl's horrible experience of rejection, being hunted, and nearly losing her life.

The book is well-written. The young albino girl, Adimu, is portrayed as a real person, with fears,dreams, and a need to be love
Lilith Day
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a book that is not only heartfelt, but is coming to share a real-world problem.

Albino babies born in certain areas of the world are not protected. They are deemed as evil. Anyone trying to help them will be judged and excommunicated accordingly. This book is trying to bring awareness to this problem so albino children can have the help they need.

Adimu was born with no pigmentation in her skin. Her community wanted her dead. It was because of her grandmother that she lived. She tri
TammyJo Eckhart
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't know much about albinos in America let alone Africa. In this work of fiction by Cristiano Gentili, I learned that today in some parts of the continent of Africa, people born with albinism are feared and if they live, their lives are very challenging. The thing is, I'm not sure this is unique to Africa.

Gentili has a clear writing style but I can't say that I loved it. For me, there were too many switching viewpoints, too many events going on that didn't directly involve the focus of the s
Debra Schoenberger
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Adimu is a zeru-zeru, a nobody. What her clan doesn’t understand is that she is not evil or to be feared, she is simply an albino. This fictional story takes place in Tanzania where albinism is common. In the larger cities such as Dar es Salaam, albinos are not treated any differently. However, in small villages where tribal religions and superstition are the norm, these children are treated as non-humans.

Although this book is a work of fiction, it brings to light the tragedy of being born an al
Tracy Krauss
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have too many books to read so when I received a pdf copy I had my doubts that I would get around to it. But something drew me in... and kept me held captive! It was a book that I had a hard time putting down. The plight of albinos in modern day Africa is not an issue I was aware existed. but beyond that, this is a gripping story of a girl who is 'different', but who grapples to find her place in the world as someone of worth. There is an underlying Christian theme, but not blatantly so as to ...more
Beverly McClure
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A baby is born. The parents have waited for months for their precious new daughter. But wait! Something is wrong. The father is not happy. He calls his baby daughter a curse, a judgment. What a horrible thing to say. In THEN SHE WAS BORN, by author Christiano Gentili, this happens.

The newborn is a zeru, zeru, a “white shadow,” an albino. She brings bad luck to not only her family, but to the whole village. In Tanzania, they believe she belongs to the spirit of the lake so they take the newborn
Sharon Gausch
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a compelling read, a beautifully written novel about a real-life horror. As it focuses on the life of one African albino girl, it explores universal issues of acceptance and inclusion. Adimu is charming and intelligent and kind, but she lives a life of rejection and fear. Her grandmother is the only member of her village to accept and truly love her; other members of her village view her as bad luck, a phantom, while the witch doctor considers her only for the value of her body parts. We ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down. Such an amazing story. Yes, I said amazing.

Adimu is a brave, beautiful soul. Being born albino in the lands where white was not a color often seen, this story takes the reader through the thoughts, the secrets, and the ‘sorcery’ of the village.

Gentilli put so much detail unto this piece of work, I was living within the village as it lifted itself off the pages and became a reality. The journey, the gut-turning, heart-wrenching, blood-curdling screams within the s
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Then She Was Born
By Cristiano Gentili
Promoted by #HelpAfricanAlbinos
5 stars
Born to be different, surviving to make a difference
In many undeveloped countries, even in areas of the United States, there are unusual superstitions that have arisen and are hard to stamp out. This novel is written as fiction, but is based on true events, advanced and promoted by the above organization. The purpose is to educate the world at large about albinism, which is accepted as natural in our more developed count
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
FirstLine ~ The mother's body broke open to make way for the baby's entry into the world.

I am not sure I can adequately capture the impact that this book had on me. It was heartbreaking and tragic. It will seriously hurt your heart, but it is also important and significant. It is one of those reads that will change the way you look at the world. A must read and one you will want to talk to others about, but may struggle to find the right words.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Page Turner!!! I came across this book by chance and what a wonderful chance it was! Its one of the books that you cannot put down. I loved the way the stories of each character weaved together, giving insight into small village life in Tanzania whilst touching upon a topic that so little is known about, albinos in Africa. I never imagined this book would be as interesting and as educating as it was. It left me wanting more, I can only hope that the author releases more books soon!
Chantale Canadian Book Addict
This book is not something I would usually read but it did sound interesting because I was not aware of the problems faced by albinos in traditional African societies.

This book is written in Italian by Cristiano Gentili and translated to English by Lori Hetherington .

I read this book last weekend and I just have to say that I just couldn't stop reading because this book is so very well written and this story is heartbreaking at times but the story is so good.

I highly recommend this book.

I give
Sherri Dewey
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. Especially enlightening on the many forms that discrimination can disguise itself.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Cristiano Gentili is an author and a civil servant, from the Italian region of Tuscany. He is married and has a child.

Since his graduation, where he obtained a BA in political science, a MAs in humanitarian assistance and a PhD in social science, Cristiano’s work has taken him to some of the most challenging locations around the world, often dealing with the after effects of war and natural disast