READ ✓ Little Family

SUMMARY Little Family

READ ✓ Little Family ´ A powerful novel about young people in a conflict scarred land struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created togetherHidden away from a harsh outside world five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane a relic of their country’s chaos Elimane the bookworm is as street smart as he E spell of the “beautiful people” the fortunate sons and daughters of the powerful the desire to resume an interrupted coming of age and follow her own destiny proves impossible to resistA profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt Little Family marks the further blossoming of a uniue global voi. ★★★✰✰ 3 stars “Almost everything in this country is on its way to losing itself” Little Family is a deeply felt novel Set in an unnamed African country the narrative revolves around five young people whose makeshift home is a derelict airplane Ishmael Beah’s paints a sobering landscape government corruption extreme social divide the malignant vestiges of colonialism colourism militarypolice brutality The ‘little family’ at the heart of his novel do their best to survive pouring their different skills and strengths into clever swindles Beah’s illuminating prose gracefully renders their day to day activitiesThe first half of the novel follows each member of the family without delving into their pasts I really loved these early chapters In spite of the dangers they face the members of this family are brave beyond belief Beah clearly has a wonderful ear for the rhythm of children’s conversations there is silliness and the kind of banter that teeters between playful and not so playful Unlike the adults in his novel Beah never dismisses the voices of his young characters Although they are painfully aware of being “the ones society had no use for” and that each day may bring a new form of dehumanization they unanimously wish for change for safety for their poverty to end for their country to rid itself of corruption and the ineualities brought by colonialism Elimane and Khoudi the older members of this little family are not only incredibly self aware of their role in their society of their country’s fraught history of the different degrees of ineuality within their community but often encourage others to uestion established norms As we follow them during their daily routines we gain an impression of the dynamics within this family It was Namsa the youngest one in the family who stood out to me in this first half of the novel She approaches her family’s excursion with a sense of buoyant adventure and although she worries that she won’t be able to keep up with the others she’s just as if not uick wittedWhile outside of their home the group often has to keep apart from each other as not to draw suspicion the depth of their bond their mutual ease and trust is clearThe tempo in the latter half of the novel is far less absorbing The story focuses almost exclusively on Khoudi and her ‘awakening’ What follows is rather predictable she learns the power of her own body becomes intrigued and eventually entangled with a group of privileged young people and distances herself from the ‘self’ she is within the ‘little family’ While I can appreciate a ‘coming of age’ tale or a story that charts a uest for one’s identity I did find Khoudi’s journey to be clichéd and clearly written by a man There are a few scenes that seem straight out of a boy’s fantasy of a girl who is on the cusps of womanhood discovering her beauty and sexual desire becoming close to another beautiful young womanand of course although each one of them is interestinfatuated with a man when they are alone together they kissbut it means nothing The tonal shift too left me wanting The little family is sidelined in favour of a love story one that was particularly uninspired if anything the whole star crossed lovers thing made Khoudi’s early characterisation somewhat redundant The ending was abrupt and unsatisfyingAs much as I loved the first half Khoudi’s half was bland I also felt annoyed that the characters we grown to know in the early chapters are or less abandoned by the narrative in favour of a romance Still the author treats his characters and the issues they face with empathy so I would probably recommend this one to those readers who don’t mind when novels change the direction of their storyRead reviews on my blog   View all my reviews on Goodreads


A powerful novel about young people in a conflict scarred land struggling to replace the homes they have lost with the one they have created togetherHidden away from a harsh outside world five young people have improvised a home in an abandoned airplane a relic of their country’s chaos Elimane the bookworm is as street smart as he is wise Clever. This novel is one of the best books I’ve read this year for a number of reasons I was sad when it ended because I didn’t want to leave these characters behind It’s one of those books that is so beautifully written that I was compelled to reread paragraphs for the pure pleasure of reading them again What lovely language I woke up thinking about this story and realized how little I paid attention to the real stories of children who are displaced and struggling to survive victims of the politics and history of their country in this case an unnamed African country These fictional characters represent so many I was grateful to Ishmael Beah once again His first novel Radiance of Tomorrow is a powerful and impactful story and this his second novel left me wishing there were stars to give This is a beautiful story about young people who have lost their families and their previous lives and have come together creating a new family The bonds between them will move you how they care for each other how they work together communicating when necessary with the language of their whistles and body movements Living in an airplane they steal food to survive and are clever out of necessity Just as all families while they share food and love for each other these are individuals with their own memories of their past lives which they mostly keep from each other We do get glimpses of their pasts reflecting the trauma hidden in those memories Khoudiemata at 18 is the mother figure caring for everyone especially ten or eleven year old Namsa yet needing some sense of herself and time alone wanting to be a part of another life with people her own age with beautiful hairstyles clothes and painted nails Elimane is 20 always reading or writing is the sole survivor of a privileged family and knows the history of this country well Ndevui one of the younger boys runs on the beach every day with earphones connected to nothing singing the songs he has in his head Kpindi is always alert and aware of his surroundings and I was pulled in to this story when I first met him at the beginning I loved each of them The world around them goes on the shops the restaurants the rich people on the beaches the corrupt government and those involved in dire criminal activity than the petty theft of food they steal to survive each day It was only a matter of time that this outside world would enter theirs and nothing would be the same again for this beautiful little family I plan to listen to his self narrated memoir A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier I received a copy of this book from Riverhead Books through Edelweiss

Ishmael Beah ß 1 READ

Little FamilyKhoudiemata maneuvers to keep the younger kids athletic pragmatic Ndevui; thoughtful Kpindi; and especially their newest member Namsa safe and fed When Elimane makes himself of service to the shadowy William Handkerchief it seems as if the little family may be able to keep the world at bay and their household intact But when Khoudi comes under th. I meet Ismael Beah when he spoke at our local university about his memoir “A Long Way Gone” years ago Beah’s memoir was the most talked about book in the Bay Area at the time Teachers in our local High Schools and Colleges were reading it with students Parents young adults everywhere you went around townpeople were talking about it It’s it’s one of those stories a reader never forgets I later read “Radiance of Tomorrow”Ishmael’s first novel The book wasn’t well written in my opinion had some problemsbut regardless it’s hard not to be a huge fan Ishmael BeahHis childhood was horrendous A nightmare But his story needed to be told And people all over the world stood behind him Me too Which now brings me to his current book “Little Family”It’s a fantastic book There are already many wonderful reviews read Angela’s ‘thanks Angela’I can’t express anything betterI’m only going to add one thingI’m blown awayinspiredmoved and impressed by the maturity and skill in Ishmael’s writing WOW Growth beyond growthTo be a witness of such grand improvement of Beah’s writing skills of this beautiful and tragic story — just makes me want to stand up and cheer for him The improvement in his writing is AMAZINGI’m so happy that Ishmael came to our country that great people and educators invested time and money supporting him I don’t think anyone expected him to become such a powerful voice an advocate for anyone being treated unfairly He writes about people’s struggles Ishmael a survivor himself writes about otherssurvival and resilience being the important themes Soooo proud of himThis was an intelligent emotionally felt wonderful novel