Review: Tiny Sunbirds Far Away

“Father was a loud man.”

The story of a young girl named Blessing whose life drastically changes when her father leaves the family for another woman. Not only must Blessing leave all that she knows behind in Ikeja, but she must begin to reconcile the image she has of her father, mother and brother with reality. Blessing soon learns a lot of life lessons while she watches those around her make decisions that will irrevocably change her life.

I boo hoo cried while reading this novel. I didn’t know much about the oil industry in Nigeria prior to this book and I was ill prepared for what I learned. Honestly, there simply is no way to prepare to learn how industries, corporations knowingly sacrifice the well-being of human beings for corporate greed. And the Nigerian government is just as much to blame as the oil corporations. And while we know Blessing is a fictitious character, we also know there are plenty of real-life Blessings who could tell the exact same story. What oil is doing to the Delta region is despicable and in humane.

Nevertheless, I digress. The author touches on several issues in the novel: the oil companies and government greed, female mutilation and women’s rights. While she is not an author of color, she did a beautiful job illustrating the people of Warri in the Delta Region and the daily challenges they face trying to carve out a livelihood since the destruction of the land due to the production of oil. It is a heart-wrenching and, at the same time, heartwarming read.

Tiny Sunbirds Far Away by Christie Watson
Publisher: Other Press
Published: May 10th, 2011
Pages: 438

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