Elijah, seven years old, is covered in scars and has a history of disruptive behavior. Read more...
Elijah, seven years old, is covered in scars and has a history of disruptive behavior. Taken away from his birth mother, a Nigerian immigrant in England, Elijah is moved from one foster parent to the next before finding a home with Nikki and her husband, Obi.
Nikki believes that she and Obi are strong enough to accept Elijah s difficulties and that being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. They care deeply for Elijah and, in spite of his demons, he begins to settle into this loving family. But as Nikki and Obi learn more about their child s tragic past, they face challenges that threaten to rock the fragile peace they ve established, challenges that could prove disastrous."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-02-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Elijah was born to loving Nigerian immigrants living in London. But, for heartbreaking reasons that become evident over the course of this poignant novel, he endured an unthinkable amount of pain and abuse before winding up on the merry-go-round of child services. At age seven, he’s adopted by Nikki, who is white, and Obi, whose own family is also Nigerian—by all accounts a dependable, compassionate couple determined to protect, love, and heal Elijah. As the family members come to know one another, they each experience intense tenderness and understandable trepidation. However, as Elijah’s past is revealed in more detail, everyone begins to doubt the tenacity of their bond. Interspersed throughout the narrative are letters from Deborah, Elijah’s birth mother, deepening the complexity of both the adoration and suffering he’s known. Watson (Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away), in addition to being a writer, also works as a nurse, and she approaches the topic with expert knowledge of what a child like Elijah would have gone through, as well as tremendous empathy for her cast of characters. Although much of the dialogue feels stilted, used to explain information or shifts in chronology rather than to reflect the characters’ points of view, the book is undeniably powerful. (Apr.)