Book Review: The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo

I decided to read some African Literature this past week. At the library, I found two books with interesting blurbs; The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo and Crackdown by Njuguna Mutonya.
The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo is categorized as young adult (YA) fiction. The story begins with the brutal murder of Sade and Femi’s mother in Nigeria. Sade is only 12 years old while Femi is ten. The killers seem to have been targeting their father, a journalist who had written articles criticizing the government.The family realizes that they are in danger after receiving another threatening call. They decide to get out of Nigeria and seek safety in England. However, due to a glitch, they are unable to travel together. A plan is devised to smuggle the children into England. Things seem to go haywire from then on and nothing goes as planned.

Although this book is categorized as YA, it did have some serious themes such a murder. It also made several references to the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa. This created the background of the story depicting the dangers that lurked in Nigeria. The issue of refugees and asylum seekers was also a prevalent theme in the narrative. Through one of the characters, the issue of Somali unrest and killing of civilians is also highlighted. Surprisingly, even the issue of bullying and racism came up in the story.

I liked the book. I enjoyed the adventures of Femi and Sade in England. I also liked the angle of their father’s arrest and the fight for his release. There are parts of the book that made me uncomfortable such as the bullying of Sade. In the narratives, the other students in England disliked the African students so much hence the bullying.


“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

The two main characters in the book are likeable. Femi and Sade are young but brave and I was drawn to them right from the start. The adult characters are also good. I liked the social workers and the foster parents especially the Kings. Although the book has serious, heavy themes, it’s still an enjoyable and easy read. It’s also suited for younger readers. It introduces the themes in an easy way that makes them understandable without going too much into gory details that may be unsuitable for a YA genre.



10 Books of February

My TBR for February had  six books. I had planned on reading 2 memoirs, 2 African Literature novels and at least 2 thrillers. However, I ended up reading 4 memoirs, 2 African Lit and 4 other great books so a total of ten books.


My favorite book  was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I also really loved The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I hope you find a book that interests you from my February reading list.


1) Abducted: The Fourteen Year Fight to Find My Children by Jacqueline Pascarl


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About the Book: At seventeen, Jacqueline Pascarl married a royal prince and embarked on what she believed would be a fairy-tale existence. But it soon became a nightmare. After years of abuse at the hands of her husband, Jacqueline escaped with her children, hoping to leave her past behind. But what followed would haunt her for the next fourteen years.In this heart-rending story, Jacqueline describes how her husband kidnapped their two young children and forced them to cut off all contact with her. She tells of the pain and helplessness she felt at their loss but also of how she channeled her grief, forging an existence as an aid worker and humanitarian ambassador, all the while desperately hoping to hear news of them

Why I picked the book: I found the book at an Inama Bookshop(street vendors who sell books) and loved the blurb. Although it was secondhand, it  looked pretty new.

Thoughts: I loved parts of the books, In particular the first and the last section. The middle section was a bit too slow for me.


2) Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt



About the Book This is the memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy — exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling — does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.


Why I picked the book: I had been planning on reading this book for a while following a series of recommendations. I finally found a copy at our library and absolutely had to read it.

Thoughts: I really loved this book. The story is quite heartbreaking, the McCourt’s family went through unimaginable hardships. I enjoyed the narrative. I also liked that it was narrated by Frank McCourt through the years hence taking readers through the journey of his growth.
3) Dreams from my father: A story of race and inheritance by Barrack Obama



About the Book: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance is a memoir by Barack Obama. It was first published in 1995 as Obama was preparing to launch his political career in a campaign for Illinois Senate,[1] five years after being elected as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990.[2] The book chronicles the events of Obama’s life up until his entry into law school in 1988.

Why I picked the book: I heard about the book a while ago and was simply curious about Obama’s life. I borrowed the book from a library

Thoughts: I enjoyed the narrative and in particular, the last section about his visit to Kenya. It’s a wonderful and inspiring memoir.


4) I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

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“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”Nujood Ali

About the Book: Nujood Ali’s childhood came to an abrupt end in 2008 when her father arranged for her to be married to a man three times her age. With harrowing directness, Nujood tells of abuse at her husband’s hands and of her daring escape. With the help of local advocates and the press, Nujood obtained her freedom—an extraordinary achievement in Yemen, where almost half of all girls are married under the legal age. Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has inspired other young girls in the Middle East to challenge their marriages. Hers is an unforgettable story of tragedy, triumph, and courage.

Why I picked the book: The title, absolutely, I got the book because I was intrigued by the title. And then I found out that it was a true story, absolutely had to read it.
Thoughts: A heartbreaking story. It’s the kind of thing that you read wishing that it was fiction but then it’s not. Nujood is a brave little girl who went through something that no little girl should ever experience.
5) The Color Purple by Alice Walker


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About the Book:Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence.

Why I picked the book: I have had this book in my personal library since last year. I don’t know why I took so long to read it. It is such a beautiful book.
Thoughts: I loved the book. I absolutely loved Celia and even Shug Avery. Loved how unique the narration was whereby the story was told in letters. I am truly glad that I read this book.












6) Behind Closed Doors by BA Paris



About the Book: The 2016 debut bloggers can’t stop raving about. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Ice Twins. Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Why I picked the book: This book is widely acclaimed especially in the blogosphere. I picked it mainly because someone told me that it’s like The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
Thoughts: I enjoyed the story. It’s quite fast paced. I haven’t read such as suspenseful thriller in quite a while. I was on the edge of my seat with each new twist. The book will keep you guessing up to the end.


7) The Other Side of Truth by Beverly Naidoo




About the Book: After the murder of their mother, twelve-year-old Sade and her younger brother are smuggled out of Nigeria by their journalist father to escape the corrupt military government and growing violence. They are sent to their uncle in London, but when they arrive, he is missing and they are abandoned, passed between foster homes. Their father escapes to England to find them — but he will be sent back to Nigeria unless Sade can find a way to tell the world what happened to her family.

A Silver Medal winner of England’s Smarties Book Prize, Beverly Naidoo’s new novel explores the issues of family, exile, and freedom wtih eloquence and stunning realism.

Why I picked the book: I wanted to balance my books for this month by including some good African Literature. I picked this book from the library because I loved the synopsis.
Thoughts: It’s an interesting story but I think it’s more suited for the YA readers


8) Crackdown by Njuguna Mutonya


About the Book: Njuguna Mutonya was born in Thika in 1960. At Nyeri High School he got his first taste of political activism campaigning for Waruru Kanja, a deeply nationalistic post independence Kenyan politician. Njuguna then joined the University of Nairobi during its most turbulent period (1980-1984) under Daniel Arap Moi’s regime. He graduated in Political Science and trained in journalism before being deployed as District Information Officer at Mombasa, a Kenyan Coast. Njuguna was arrested for sedition in 1986 and released in 1989.

Why I picked it: The book is based on true events about what a journalist went through in the Nyayo Torture Chambers in 1989. I was curious to read about the stories that make up part of Kenya’s dark history.
Thoughts: We cannot run away from our pasts no matter how ugly they are. This is a book about resilience and bravery that everyone should read.
9) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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About the Book : It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Why I picked the book: Quite a number of people had recommended this book to me.

Thoughts: I really can’t explain just how much I loved this book. It’s the kind of book that you want to hug and keep close to you. I want to reread the book even if it broke my heart.I highly recommend it. Seriously, everyone should read this one.index


10) P.S: I Love you by Cecilia Ahern

About the Book: Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

Why I picked the book: I bought it from an Inama Bookshop. I loved the blurb and the cover and the title too.
Thoughts: I liked the book; it was an easy and fun read. There are sections that I thought were a bit over the top but that didn’t mess up the plot.



I joined the goodreads reading challenge this year for the first time and my plan was to read 50 books this year.  I am now reading, The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which is my 22nd book for 2016. You can join the challenge too, click here for more details.

Attribution: All synopsis(about the book) were obtained from here.