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Where Women Are Kings

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Elijah, seven years old, has a history of disruptive behaviour. His adoptive mother Nikki believes that she and her husband Obi are strong enough to accept his difficulties – and that her being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. Deborah, Elijah’s birth mother, is ever present, and her love for her son is a constant reminder for Nikki of something she’s Elijah, seven years old, has a history of disruptive behaviour. His adoptive mother Nikki believes that she and her husband Obi are strong enough to accept his difficulties – and that her being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. Deborah, Elijah’s birth mother, is ever present, and her love for her son is a constant reminder for Nikki of something she’s not part of, that she’s never had. Each of them faces more challenges than they could have dreamed of, but just as Elijah starts to settle in, a surprise event rocks their fragile peace and the result is devastating.


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Elijah, seven years old, has a history of disruptive behaviour. His adoptive mother Nikki believes that she and her husband Obi are strong enough to accept his difficulties – and that her being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. Deborah, Elijah’s birth mother, is ever present, and her love for her son is a constant reminder for Nikki of something she’s Elijah, seven years old, has a history of disruptive behaviour. His adoptive mother Nikki believes that she and her husband Obi are strong enough to accept his difficulties – and that her being white will not affect her ability to raise a black son. Deborah, Elijah’s birth mother, is ever present, and her love for her son is a constant reminder for Nikki of something she’s not part of, that she’s never had. Each of them faces more challenges than they could have dreamed of, but just as Elijah starts to settle in, a surprise event rocks their fragile peace and the result is devastating.

30 review for Where Women Are Kings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    This book... was weird 90% of the time. It was a book about beliefs, culture, feelings and mental illness. It was a book about a tortured nigerian boy. A boy I really felt sorry for. I think this book has a lesson to teach us. We just have to have an open mind to let the lesson dive in. That why I was so skeptical in the beginning... I thought it was an awful book (I repeat: in the beginning). I didn't understand why Elijah felt that way. Like he had a wizard inside of him. But, in the end, the This book... was weird 90% of the time. It was a book about beliefs, culture, feelings and mental illness. It was a book about a tortured nigerian boy. A boy I really felt sorry for. I think this book has a lesson to teach us. We just have to have an open mind to let the lesson dive in. That why I was so skeptical in the beginning... I thought it was an awful book (I repeat: in the beginning). I didn't understand why Elijah felt that way. Like he had a wizard inside of him. But, in the end, the lesson made me think differently. You can never understand someone's pain, because you can never know what's going on in his mind. But reading it... feeling it, turned this story upside down for me. I'm glad I read this book. I'm glad I read a book that was clearly out of my comfort zone. Because sometimes a book like this one, can open your eyes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ~Jo~

    This book is sold as being a sensitive portrayal of the complexities of mental illness and adoption, and it was this that first attracted me to the book. I am always intrigued about mental illness, as I am certainly not a stranger to it, and as I was adopted, I thought I might find this a little relatable. This wasn't what I expected, and for the most part, especially on the theme of adoption, it seemed poorly researched and unrealistic, and this only added to my irritation. This is not a well wr This book is sold as being a sensitive portrayal of the complexities of mental illness and adoption, and it was this that first attracted me to the book. I am always intrigued about mental illness, as I am certainly not a stranger to it, and as I was adopted, I thought I might find this a little relatable. This wasn't what I expected, and for the most part, especially on the theme of adoption, it seemed poorly researched and unrealistic, and this only added to my irritation. This is not a well written book, and at times, I felt I was reading a YA book. The characters were paper thin, and I didn't feel anything for any of them, not even Elijah. The author tells us that he is possessed by "wizards" but then a few pages later, he is not possessed by wizards. It seemed vague and confusing. The POV jumped continuously, causing confusion, and yet more detachment from the characters. This book had an interesting premise, which wasn't researched enough, resulting in a bland, improbable story, which I am starting to forget already.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Christie Watson’s intensely moving second novel Where Women Are Kings is so beautifully executed that one comes away with a sense of awe at her mastery of imagination and writing skill. Watson gets inside the experience of being a Nigerian immigrant to London and illuminates a disconnect within the mind of a seven-year-old foster child. Watson takes on an important, fraught, and difficult to understand human social issue—severe child abuse—and shares it with us with an intelligence and assuredne Christie Watson’s intensely moving second novel Where Women Are Kings is so beautifully executed that one comes away with a sense of awe at her mastery of imagination and writing skill. Watson gets inside the experience of being a Nigerian immigrant to London and illuminates a disconnect within the mind of a seven-year-old foster child. Watson takes on an important, fraught, and difficult to understand human social issue—severe child abuse—and shares it with us with an intelligence and assuredness that gives us all grace. She is as careful with us, her readers, as a mother is with an at-risk child, talking us around the issue until we feel safe enough to look at it straight in the eye. We would not gravitate to this difficult subject were we led not there by a careful and steady guide. Watson chooses a complex narrative structure with which to tell the story and in so doing, leads us to gradually comprehend how such hideous crimes might be committed by loving parents. There is a hard-won compassion everywhere apparent for all parties in this story, but not a hint of sentimentality. It is remarkable. A seven-year-old boy of Nigerian descent has been kicking around the foster care system for some years before he is chosen by a biracial couple for adoption. He is considered at-risk because there is some question if he was involved in a fire set at his last foster home. The story is told partly from his point of view, and partly from that of his adoptive mother. Interspersed throughout the narrative are letters written to the boy, Elijah, from his birth mother. We sense the voice of the child Elijah and that of his birth mother are imaginative reconstructions, yet they have a compelling logic. The voice of the adoptive mother is so fiercely intelligent and defended that it feels positively lived. Watson writes fiction that doesn’t feel like fiction, and yet all the elements of great fiction are manifest. The characters are unique, complex, recognizable. The story never gets out of Watson’s grasp. Her skill in the presentation keeps us rapt to know if and how the life of a seven-year-old can be saved. We believe in the folks she introduces who spend their days (and nights) wrestling with these issues. She makes them heroes. There are no extra pieces in this novel. Every word works to the goal of our understanding and the development of our compassion. The story of the biracial household with a really tough, almost insoluble, problem is told with a naturalness that allows us to focus on big issues like whether or not love is enough. At a time when the importance and relevance of fiction is being questioned, along comes a writer of such skill that we cannot but put aside that challenge for another day. Kudos to Watson.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bel Murphy

    The best, most poignant and insightful book I have read in many years.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Here in America, wizards are perceived as wonderful and wise. Perhaps the most famous wizard of all – the Wizard of Oz – famously said, “I know I have a heart because I feel it breaking.” Well, my heart was breaking the entire time I was reading this haunting book. Elijah, a Nigerian boy, believes he is possessed of a different kind of wizard – the receptor of an evil power that lives within him. Wrested from his mentally ill mother, Elijah is cast into a variety of foster homes before finding hi Here in America, wizards are perceived as wonderful and wise. Perhaps the most famous wizard of all – the Wizard of Oz – famously said, “I know I have a heart because I feel it breaking.” Well, my heart was breaking the entire time I was reading this haunting book. Elijah, a Nigerian boy, believes he is possessed of a different kind of wizard – the receptor of an evil power that lives within him. Wrested from his mentally ill mother, Elijah is cast into a variety of foster homes before finding his “forever” home with Obi, a man who shares Elijah’s Nigerian heritage, and his Caucasian wife Nikki who is eager for motherhood. Both Obi and Nikki have chosen to give back in their professions although having a birth child has eluded them. They know that Elijah has been traumatized and needs special care and attention, and their hearts are big enough to accept the challenge. But they are not adequately prepared for just how wrenching these challenges become. Christie Watson does not shy from painful issues: child torture, pernicious “faith”, alien belief systems, the difficulty of rehabilitating a loving child who believes he’s at fault. The characters – particularly Elijah himself – are totally believable and the narrative builds a momentum that makes it unputdownable. That being said, this is not a perfect book. The narrative alternates between Nikki and Obi’s story and Deborah (the birth mother’s) story. Deborah’s chapters should have been written in first person; I did not totally believe her voice and from time to time, she seemed to be channeling the author itself in educating the reader on Nigerian ways. The foreshadowing at the end became quite transparent and leading. From time to time, I could tell precisely what Christie Watson wanted me to take away from certain passages. That being said, I read the first 150 pages at one clip, unable to tear my eyes from the page. And far more than once, I wanted to reach into the book and comfort this little boy who wanted nothing but to be loved.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Philippa Bresler

    Where women are kings by Christie Watson 4 out of 5 ⭐️ This a truly special story. For sure, it was the book’s name that attracted me, what a great name, and it looks to me as though this may be an Indie publication. It was not a recommendation made to me, but I stumbled upon it in a small town 2nd hand bookstore. Always great.. & It’s a fair gem. It’s a very well written, easy read, the characters are believable, and very likeable, and the hard topics are very effectively handled. There’s nothing Where women are kings by Christie Watson 4 out of 5 ⭐️ This a truly special story. For sure, it was the book’s name that attracted me, what a great name, and it looks to me as though this may be an Indie publication. It was not a recommendation made to me, but I stumbled upon it in a small town 2nd hand bookstore. Always great.. & It’s a fair gem. It’s a very well written, easy read, the characters are believable, and very likeable, and the hard topics are very effectively handled. There’s nothing sensational about the read, and the plot centers around the utterly heartbreaking and uncomfortable topic of foster care, of children that are not loved in the way that they should be. Ultimately it’s a very sad read, but it’s also very accessible for those of us who simply don’t know enough about the work, the selfless commitment and the unsung heroes of the foster care world. But for me, very simply, When women are Kings was a comment on the utmost importance of unconditionally loving little children. Have tissues handy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Renita D'Silva

    Beautiful and heartbreaking. An emotional, poignant read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    This title is the biggest catfish I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Why, you ask? Because it's beautiful. It's empowering. Inspirational. Futuristic. This book, on the other hand, is grotesque. 🤷🏻‍♀️ This title is the biggest catfish I have ever witnessed in my entire life. Why, you ask? Because it's beautiful. It's empowering. Inspirational. Futuristic. This book, on the other hand, is grotesque. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan (aka Just My Op)

    Little Elijah has a wizard living in him, and he tries so very hard to keep it inside, to not let it out where it will do evil. I wanted to read this book because I loved the author's first novel, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away. And I liked this book, but I don't think it quite lived up to the very high standards set by the first one. Elijah, a Nigerian child born in England, has been abused, his mother is mentally ill, and he is living with what everyone hopes is the last in a series of foster homes. Yo Little Elijah has a wizard living in him, and he tries so very hard to keep it inside, to not let it out where it will do evil. I wanted to read this book because I loved the author's first novel, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away. And I liked this book, but I don't think it quite lived up to the very high standards set by the first one. Elijah, a Nigerian child born in England, has been abused, his mother is mentally ill, and he is living with what everyone hopes is the last in a series of foster homes. You can't help but love this little kid, to cheer him on, to hope he controls his “wizard,” but the early part of the book does not give much hope. This is a heartbreaking story of a little boy who tries so, so hard, of his foster parents who desperately want to make this damaged boy whole again, and even of his biological mother who loved him despite all she did. While I thought the writing was beautiful, it did not seem quite as lyrical as the first book. The story did not seem to have quite the same depth. Nevertheless, this is a lovely book although hard to read because of the child abuse. The characters had depth, and even social workers were not painted with too broad a stereotypical brush. There is a very wise granddad, a fearless cousin, an aunt who marches to her own tune. I came to know and love the characters. If you can stand to read about child abuse, I do recommend this relatively short novel. I was given an advance readers copy of this book for review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ana Maria

    A wonderful book about a little boy, who found himself captured between his homeland believes (witchcraft, evil spirits, a birth mom with strong mental problems looking for a way out) and his new family, the loving and ordinary parents, who unfortunately couldn`t heal him completely from the physical, mental and emotional abuse he endured 5 years. It really opens your eyes to how children understand what they are being told to believe, what harm can words do, and how fragile their hearts are. I A wonderful book about a little boy, who found himself captured between his homeland believes (witchcraft, evil spirits, a birth mom with strong mental problems looking for a way out) and his new family, the loving and ordinary parents, who unfortunately couldn`t heal him completely from the physical, mental and emotional abuse he endured 5 years. It really opens your eyes to how children understand what they are being told to believe, what harm can words do, and how fragile their hearts are. I was really impressed by this book and made me wonder of all the adopted children who come from all sorts of families, with their own baggage/problems, their fears and hopes, and how an adoptive parent should be able to assist him in his journey to a new home, to love him no matter what, and to understand that beyond all the suffering and frustration they have endured, they only need a family to love and support them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    This story would've made a bigger impact on me if the writing wasn't mediocre at best. It took so much away from the story that it was hard to care about the characters or what the "wizard" was or was not doing to Elijah. On top of that there was so little about Nigerian culture that I feel it was incorrectly pitched to me. Disappointing. This story would've made a bigger impact on me if the writing wasn't mediocre at best. It took so much away from the story that it was hard to care about the characters or what the "wizard" was or was not doing to Elijah. On top of that there was so little about Nigerian culture that I feel it was incorrectly pitched to me. Disappointing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    Christie Watson has delivered an emotional powerhouse about love, acceptance and misunderstanding in her story, "Where Women are Kings." Watson effectively and efficiently tells a story about bonds of love that can't be broken despite the pain that intrusive behavior renders. Though his birth mother, Deborah abused Elijah, it was not with the intent to harm him but to free him from the bondage of a wizard, she believes possesses him. We soon realize that between her schizophrenia and the influen Christie Watson has delivered an emotional powerhouse about love, acceptance and misunderstanding in her story, "Where Women are Kings." Watson effectively and efficiently tells a story about bonds of love that can't be broken despite the pain that intrusive behavior renders. Though his birth mother, Deborah abused Elijah, it was not with the intent to harm him but to free him from the bondage of a wizard, she believes possesses him. We soon realize that between her schizophrenia and the influence of greedy preacher that she saw no other choice but to try and remove the wizard herself through horrific means. Elijah is prisoner to this belief as well and the fear of the wizard ultimately leads to traumatic results for him and others. This taut, fast paced story was so compelling that I completed it within 24 hours. When the first bombshell is dropped, my shock was so great that I gasped aloud, "NO!" and when the second bombshell occurred I was shocked, stunned and tearful. Reading this tale is akin to listening to a dear friend sharing their own painful experience. One can only feel this intensity when the presentation of each character is so well developed. Leaving you to quickly empathize with each person's feelings and frustrations. Particularly, when each one has compelling compassion for the downtrodden (Obi is a lawyer for immigrants soon to be deported and Nikki works at a dog rescue), their great love for each other and Elijah face numerous tests. Unfortunately like all humans, they doesn't always express their love or at times, when they do, it isn't perceived as such by the other party in the manner intended. This is so frustratingly painful because we feel the pain of the characters as they sometimes fail to connect. I didn't view this book as a treatise on race, it was far more a story of the varying beliefs of different cultures (Nigerian vs. British), mental illness, and adoption. It provided a realistic look at the challenge of adopting an older child (Elijah is 7), that has an unknown history that hasn't been relayed to the adoptive parents. It is also an insightful view of the challenge of loving someone, who has conflicted loyalties and misconceptions about the nature of his abuse (which is quite common among abused children). Watson's haunting story that will be remembered long after you close the book. I hope you choose to read this outstanding story. It was a realistic account of adoption challenges and the roller-coaster ride of parenting. Thank you to Amazon Vine for making this book available in exchange for an honest review. 3/15

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I disliked almost everything about this book which suggests a 1 star rating.... but that doesn't mean the book wasn't well written. My reasons for not liking the book: I disliked most of the characters. In my opinion Obi was a patronising do-gooder desperate to 'secure' the most damaged child no matter what the consequences. Nikki's careless and selfish behaviour allowing herself to become pregnant when it was strictly forbidden in accordance with adoption agreement. Nikki's sister's attitude was I disliked almost everything about this book which suggests a 1 star rating.... but that doesn't mean the book wasn't well written. My reasons for not liking the book: I disliked most of the characters. In my opinion Obi was a patronising do-gooder desperate to 'secure' the most damaged child no matter what the consequences. Nikki's careless and selfish behaviour allowing herself to become pregnant when it was strictly forbidden in accordance with adoption agreement. Nikki's sister's attitude was awful and her daughter was pretentious and undisciplined (no surprises with a mother like that!). I felt complete pity for Deborah and sad that she didn't find the help she needed whilst suffering from (I assume) post-natal depression. I felt the 'religious' Bishop extortionist deserved to die a slow and horrible death! I felt the description of how some of the health visitors and others dealt with Elijah was unrealistic and downright unprofessional and misguided. Their automatic denial/ignorance of everything he said resulted in a reinforcement of his belief he was bad. The only satisfying part for me was the ending - a happy release. So many lives destroyed by one hideous 'religious' nut. The upshot of all this - it made me feel sick! - The depth of feeling created could just have easily resulted in a 5 star rating - but 1 star stands for "I didn't like it" - and I didn't!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    I loved Christie Watson's first book, so I was really looking forward to her second book, to the point that I ordered it online even before it appears to be available in Canada. It's hard for a book to fulfil that kind of anticipation. I liked Where Women are Kings but not as much Tiny Sunbirds Far Away. I recognize Watson's writing and sensibility in her second book, but the story is a bit more ordinary and predictable. Mind you, this is a critique based on comparison. I was in tears at the end I loved Christie Watson's first book, so I was really looking forward to her second book, to the point that I ordered it online even before it appears to be available in Canada. It's hard for a book to fulfil that kind of anticipation. I liked Where Women are Kings but not as much Tiny Sunbirds Far Away. I recognize Watson's writing and sensibility in her second book, but the story is a bit more ordinary and predictable. Mind you, this is a critique based on comparison. I was in tears at the end of where Women Are Kings and did have trouble putting it down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Literary Hoarders)

    Heartbreaking, and incredibly poignant. I never cry while reading, but I did this time. Some of the detail that was included in the novel made me cringe, but I understand its necessity. The people of this book will be with me for a very long time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Obi stopped talking again. His eyes were red and his lips were dry. He looked very alone, even though he was sitting right next to Nikki. She wanted to touch him, but her hand didn't move. He tapped and twitched and rubbed his head, but he'd run out of words. Nikki cried softly. Obi saw her looking down at her stomach and turned away. Each of his breaths was a sigh. He looked like a man who had no answers at all. The world was a completely different place. ~~A meteor shower lights up the Nigeria Obi stopped talking again. His eyes were red and his lips were dry. He looked very alone, even though he was sitting right next to Nikki. She wanted to touch him, but her hand didn't move. He tapped and twitched and rubbed his head, but he'd run out of words. Nikki cried softly. Obi saw her looking down at her stomach and turned away. Each of his breaths was a sigh. He looked like a man who had no answers at all. The world was a completely different place. ~~A meteor shower lights up the Nigerian sky. I chose this image to honor the spirit of Elijah--a little seven year old boy from a novel whom I will never forget. Nikki and Obi are a bi-racial couple living in England. They've long wanted children, but Nikki has a health condition that predisposes her to miscarriages. After the last pregnancy ended in yet another heartbreak, they decide to look into adoption. Obi is a civil rights case-manager/lawyer, and wants to adopt a child that *really* needs them....not a baby who will easily be placed in another home. Their hearts lead them to Elijah, a seven year old whose Nigerian mother immigrated to England. Nikki and Obi learn that Elijah comes with a lot of baggage. His birth mother is in a mental hospital, suffering from schizophrenia most likely. She had persistent delusions and paranoia which led her to an unscrupulous prophet at a Nigerian church. He "diagnosed" Elijah as a wizard when he was just a baby, and "prescribed" torturous ways of exorcising him. Now Elijah is safe, in foster care, and needs a forever home. But he continues to have two beliefs--"that his birth mother loves him like the world has never known love, and that he is possessed by a wizard." Will the love of Nikki and Obi be enough to heal the heart of this little boy? Can he incorporate the first 5 years of his life into a personal history that he can live with? And what future can he make with his new family? Read this heartbreaking but beautiful story to find out. My two cents: Christie Watson is a pediatric nurse, and her experience with children shows in her handling of a seven year old protagonist. Children are often not given enough credit in fiction. Not here. Elijah has a far greater understanding of just what exactly is going on than many adults realize. Watson does not pull any punches with the prose, but she is gentle with her characters. Blame, if any, is left to the reader to assign. The story came alive for me, and is not one I will quickly forget. Read it with an open mind and heart. Expect your knowledge to be expanded and your heart to be broken. Given 5 stars or a rating of "Perfect". Recommended to anyone who has ever loved a child. Further Reading: Be warned, this article is graphic but eye opening. Watson shines a bright light on child abuse because of a belief that children can be witches and wizards. This well done story by BBC says it all. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Madalina

    I couldn't really understand the connexion between the title and the book, that's why my rating is so low. But it was a good book, a sad book...it left me with a lot of questions.. I couldn't really understand the connexion between the title and the book, that's why my rating is so low. But it was a good book, a sad book...it left me with a lot of questions..

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryn Asri

    It is about this one kid name Elijah seven years old that has scars not just outside but on the inside too. Quiet, loving kind of kid. His past experience before meeting with his new family Nikki and Obi leave a haunting experience to him. He miss his real mama every single day and cannot settling his life without the remembrance of his mama. It gives me a lot of overwhelming feeling, goosebump each of the chapter. The plot going tense every page with a lot of secrets from Elijah's past reveal. It is about this one kid name Elijah seven years old that has scars not just outside but on the inside too. Quiet, loving kind of kid. His past experience before meeting with his new family Nikki and Obi leave a haunting experience to him. He miss his real mama every single day and cannot settling his life without the remembrance of his mama. It gives me a lot of overwhelming feeling, goosebump each of the chapter. The plot going tense every page with a lot of secrets from Elijah's past reveal. What happen to Deborah that made her give his beloved son to the care folded neatly and ready to be told. Heart wrenching story that make you think how grateful you are to have a family that love you, and raise you since you are just tiny little creature. this is one of the reality, spiritual-abuse experience from seven years old kid. 'Little Nigeria, i love you like the world has never known love.'

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ginge

    The idea is fascinating, but the writing is repetitive. There are wizards/there are no wizards. In the end the idea is more than played out and not much remains. Too bad.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily Kerr

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Weird ending. Really?!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kacie Vanover

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Did not want to put this down. As much as I hated the ending, the whole thing was written very well.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alina Tabusca

    A very touching dive into the soul of a conflicted child. Love is a list of choices, his reality is a battle, and his identity is mostly guilt. The book excels through its capacity to address a very delicate topic and emotion without damaging it or losing its essence. It is not the kind of reading that flows, but it is the kind of reading that remains with you.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Where Women Are Kings, is a powerful story but a tough one to read as well. It deals with an emotionally and physically abused child. Seven year old Elijah believes two things: that his mother loved him very much, even though he was taken from her, and that he is a wizard - a wizard that is sometimes made to do bad things. Elijah is the son of Deborah and Akpan, Nigerian immigrants living outside of London. His mother tells him that he was born of love, when the couple moved to the UK from Nigeria Where Women Are Kings, is a powerful story but a tough one to read as well. It deals with an emotionally and physically abused child. Seven year old Elijah believes two things: that his mother loved him very much, even though he was taken from her, and that he is a wizard - a wizard that is sometimes made to do bad things. Elijah is the son of Deborah and Akpan, Nigerian immigrants living outside of London. His mother tells him that he was born of love, when the couple moved to the UK from Nigeria. However, when Akpan dies unexpectedly when Elijah is just an infant, Deborah is unable to cope with the loss of her husband. She quickly spirals out of control into madness. Convinced by a wacko Bishop that her son needs an exorcism, poor Elijah is sadly the victim here. In and out of foster homes Elijah is adopted by a kind, patient, mixed race couple. Obi is an immigration lawyer and Nikki works with rescue dogs. Although Elijah seems to adjust well at times, his inner "wizard" demon is never far away. The author has done a very good job creating a powerful, believable story. The characters are well developed and through alternating chapters the reader gets to understand the roots of Elijah's troubled past and difficult present. At just 250 pages, the book is a quick read, yet one that has stayed with me as well. 4.5/5 stars

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This is a remarkable book about a subject that is painful to read about but is nevertheless a subject that should be better understood, and Christie does an excellent job of enabling the reader to do just that. Elijah is a confused and damaged child who has had to be removed from his birth mother for reasons that are only gradually revealed. A sweet and loveable boy, and who is much loved by his new adoptive parents who do all they can to win his trust, he is nevertheless haunted by his past and This is a remarkable book about a subject that is painful to read about but is nevertheless a subject that should be better understood, and Christie does an excellent job of enabling the reader to do just that. Elijah is a confused and damaged child who has had to be removed from his birth mother for reasons that are only gradually revealed. A sweet and loveable boy, and who is much loved by his new adoptive parents who do all they can to win his trust, he is nevertheless haunted by his past and no amount of love and understanding can take that past away. Although child abuse is not that uncommon a subject in literature, ritual abuse is, as is demonic possession and witchcraft, and Watson’s exploration of its place in Nigerian culture is well-handled, making an obscure topic comprehensible to the outsider. What is so upsetting in this story is that almost without exception everyone is trying so hard to do the right, the best, thing, and yet the damage to Elijah is so profound that he truly is a lost child. Moving and compassionate, this is a compelling and important book and one that will long stay with me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jodie Gale

    Excellent book - loved it. A must read for anyone thinking of fostering or adoption. This is a novel but could absolutely be a life story. Highlighted a crucial problem when parents foster or adopt.... not listening to the advice of the caseworker / training! Eg. when they recommend adoptive parents become stay at home parents for two years, don’t try for a baby etc. These kids need parents who know everything they need to about attachment trauma and who make every effort to do everything they ca Excellent book - loved it. A must read for anyone thinking of fostering or adoption. This is a novel but could absolutely be a life story. Highlighted a crucial problem when parents foster or adopt.... not listening to the advice of the caseworker / training! Eg. when they recommend adoptive parents become stay at home parents for two years, don’t try for a baby etc. These kids need parents who know everything they need to about attachment trauma and who make every effort to do everything they can to foster secure attachment. A good read for psychs and social workers too re internalised becoming inner voices/subselves. Listened to the audio... one of the best I’ve heard in terms of characters different voices.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Silvia

    I gotta say, at first the book for me was kinda weird, because I could not understand what was all about the wizard. I've seen in other reviews that that happened to you too. But after reading and reading I understood better, even though fully I can't understand because I'm not nigerian. But I knew there must be something more with this book because it was recommended to me by a friend whom I trust, and I knew it had to be great. And it was. I loved the book. It was really easy to read and I fini I gotta say, at first the book for me was kinda weird, because I could not understand what was all about the wizard. I've seen in other reviews that that happened to you too. But after reading and reading I understood better, even though fully I can't understand because I'm not nigerian. But I knew there must be something more with this book because it was recommended to me by a friend whom I trust, and I knew it had to be great. And it was. I loved the book. It was really easy to read and I finished it in just a few days. After I read half of it, I just couldn't stop and I finished it in one day. You ask me if I cried? I did, A LOT, but I'm not ashamed. :) I would say that this book was the best book I read this year, until now. And I want to thank my friend for the recommendation.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Talia

    A novel of, at best, mediocre writing and truly poor character development/trajectory. Contrary to the summary, the book has little interest in race dynamics or exploration other than to make one character call the main black character "Jay-Z," at which the other characters shake their heads but do not seriously object. (view spoiler)[Kills off a main character instead of bothering to expand on or address their problems. (hide spoiler)] A badly written "tearjerker" exploiting attachment disorder a A novel of, at best, mediocre writing and truly poor character development/trajectory. Contrary to the summary, the book has little interest in race dynamics or exploration other than to make one character call the main black character "Jay-Z," at which the other characters shake their heads but do not seriously object. (view spoiler)[Kills off a main character instead of bothering to expand on or address their problems. (hide spoiler)] A badly written "tearjerker" exploiting attachment disorder and (allegedly) traditional Nigerian folk beliefs for cheap emotional impact.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josie

    Just loved this one! So very moving a story. Really touched my heart this one, and I shed more than just the 1 tear!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bianca Manea

    At first I felt anger and revolt, then compassion, then bitter happiness, then fear, then hope, then sadness. So many feelings triggered by the short but troubled life of Elijah, the Nigerian boy. What I take from this book is that the cultural differences make us people what we are; to the modern European, the existence of wizards possessing young children is as improbable as it is for a Nigerian boy to not be loved by his mother. Different heritage does not necessarily mean different values: mo At first I felt anger and revolt, then compassion, then bitter happiness, then fear, then hope, then sadness. So many feelings triggered by the short but troubled life of Elijah, the Nigerian boy. What I take from this book is that the cultural differences make us people what we are; to the modern European, the existence of wizards possessing young children is as improbable as it is for a Nigerian boy to not be loved by his mother. Different heritage does not necessarily mean different values: motherly love is the same all over the world, it just manifests differently. On a less tolerant and less pacifist level I blame the Mother(Deborah) for not seeking help earlier. For not reaching to somebody else and instead insisting on applying the same traditional and barbaric methods used by the priest. When on Earth did the church become such a vile and mercantile institution? Especially towards those who really are in need and desperately seek help...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Georgiana

    I really do not know how to rate this book. It is one of the saddest book that I have ever read, but still is well written. I expected to be immersed in the nigerian / african culture however, the story was about simple, good hearted people, that worked towards a meaningful goal, but were struck by a series of negative events. Also, it portraits the deep maternal love, family, adoption process, mental illness,differentiation between fiction and reality, the interpretation of a five years old abo I really do not know how to rate this book. It is one of the saddest book that I have ever read, but still is well written. I expected to be immersed in the nigerian / african culture however, the story was about simple, good hearted people, that worked towards a meaningful goal, but were struck by a series of negative events. Also, it portraits the deep maternal love, family, adoption process, mental illness,differentiation between fiction and reality, the interpretation of a five years old about his past and present, emotion and thoughts control and about how cultural believes impact one’s life. It also shows the perspective of a character which leads to a certain decision / action and it makes you less judgmental towards hers/his life story.

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