Refugees in Britain

The Other Side of Truth - Beverley Naidoo

I will attempt to write a spoiler free summary of this book before I tell you why I loved it. After a politically motivated, family tragedy in Nigeria those who survive are forced to flee for their lives. Two young children, Sade and Femi, are sent to England with a stranger under false identities. When things become more complicated in England than expected the two children, aged ten and twelve, are abandoned in the capital city. A lot of things happen, descriptions of which might spoil the story, but throughout the fear, shame, love, strength and ingenuity of the children is displayed.

I love this book. I felt for the children, for their wider family and their foster family very deeply. The challenges they face feel very real and how they deal with each, while sometimes causing more problems for themselves, is always understandable and evokes sympathy and empathy in the reader.

While it might have easily been a tale of hopelessness and despair, it manages to rise above both and leave the reader with at least a measure of optimism. We are led through the story by Sade, a girl of twelve, who has to navigate them both through stormy waters.