Little Family

Little Family

Little Family is Ishmael Beah’s first fiction effort after his heartbreaking A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldierwhich told of his time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone. Beah takes us back to what he knows–children in Africa (the country is unnamed) struggling to get by on only their wits.

The little family in the title is composed of five children living together in an abandoned airplane: Elimane, the bookish teen elder of the group; Khoudiemata, a motherly figure just coming into her own womanhood; athletic Ndevui and quiet Kpindi, two younger teen boys; and young Namsa, who idolizes Khoudi and is protected by all of them.

Beah brilliantly illustrates the way the children are forced into wisdom and street smarts beyond their years, including the subtle ways they protect their safety while caring for one another. Dubious connections promise security, belonging, and acceptance in a world where they are forgotten, but every leg-up seems to have trade-offs for these children on the fringes.

Lovely, and strangely uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. My only complaint was an ending that felt rushed.

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About the Book

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Publisher’s Description

A powerful novel about five young people, struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created together, from the internationally bestselling author of A Long Way Gone. Hidden away from a harsh and chaotic outside world, five young people have cobbled together a home for themselves in an abandoned airplane, a relic of their country’s tumult. At seventeen, Elimane, the bookworm, is as street-smart as he is wise: the group’s father figure. Clever Khoudimata is mother by default, helping scheme how to keep the younger boys-athletic, pragmatic Ndevui and thoughtful Kpindi-and especially little Namsa, their newest and youngest member-safe and fed. When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief, it seems as if the small group may be able to keep the world at bay and their ad hoc family intact. But when Khoudi comes under the spell of the “Beautiful People”–the fortunate sons and daughters of the powerful and corrupt–the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and forge her own destiny proves impossible to resist. A profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.

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Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publication Year: 2021
Length: 272
ASIN: 0735211779
ISBN: 9780735211773
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