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Trained as a midwife by her wise, centered grandmother, she gains a stronger sense of self even as her angry, alienated brother falls under the sway of a roving teenage gang. When her secretive mother becomes romantically involved with a well-off white man, who however decent works for a violently oppressive oil company, things intensify. Left to their own devices, the women bond together to stand up to corruption.

Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson

Unlike her mother, Blessing ultimately rejects the dream of a Prince Charming whisking her off to a happier place by committing herself to her home, her homeland and her own family. The ending is a bit pat, and the book could use a few more sparks. That said, there's much to admire in Watson's measured, flowing prose and her avoidance of melodrama. Blessing is an appealing pre-teen protagonist. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again. Be the first to discover new talent!

Book Review: Christie Watson's "Tiny Sunbirds Far Away"

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Email Newsletter. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. A memorable debut novel about a Nigerian girl's coming of age.

Do you work in the book industry? Which of the following best describes you? Literary Agent. Even though Ezikiel is warned several times and even has a brush with death when he is shot, he continues to associate himself with them. Ezikiel eventually dies when he is burnt with fire from an oil pipeline he is trying to split.

One can deduce that Ezikiel and Blessing share some hostility against Dan as they are secretly pining for the return of their father whom they have come to adore. Mother on the other hand tends is so focused to trying to make money and eventually Dan, her new boyfriend that she begins to ignore the children sometimes even for days. Ezikiel eventually quits school due to frustration and seeks refuge with the Sibeye boys who give a sense of belonging despite his numerous health challenges.

This eventually leads to his death which gives Mama so much regret and pain. Another eye opening theme is that of the Female Genital Mutilation which is seemingly present in parts of Africa particularly in the rural areas with little or no civilisation. Grandma is highlighted in this theme as her somewhat initially secret job is midwifery as she helps women in the community give birth to their children acting as a nurse of some sort.

Blessing takes an interest in the craft of midwifery and even leaves school to join Grandma permanently. It is through the lens of Blessing that the reader understands the intricacies of midwifery.

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When Grandma performs her first female genital mutilation which Blessing is aware of, she Blessing is surprised and somewhat disappointed as Grandma already knows the dangers in performing such an act. One can sense a struggle within the character of Blessing when she notices that Grandma wants to cut the female parts of the little baby girl born to the woman that already has seven children. Blessing even tries to convince herself the grandma only wants to talk to the woman against performing the operation but somehow the reader deduces that Blessing knows what Grandma is about to do. Grandma convinces Blessing to leave the room and even though goes far away she still hears the baby scream which carries a message of immense pain across.

Grandma avoids the topic whenever Blessing tries to talk to her and ask questions about it. All the girls used to have it but now it is only a few. And I am an old traditional birth attendant. These choices are hard to understand, why women make these choices.


Why we must also make choices as birth attendants. But I make my own choices, and I have my own reasons. It is not done now. But, yes, I did perform cutting. This is significant as it shows a sensitization of some sort for the coming generation.

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The text passes a deep message concerning female genital mutilation highlighting the dangers and effects in the life of a girl who would eventually become a woman. Another salient theme explored in the text is that of the exploitation of the oil producing parts of Nigeria known as the Niger Delta.

There is a strong oil company presence and problems with armed conflict between the freedom fighters and the authorities. The freedom fighters in this case are a group of young boys in the community who are against the exploiting activities of the oil companies in partnership with the government. The Sibeye boys as they are called in the text kidnap foreign oil workers for a ransom as some sort of consolation for the havoc wreaked on the communities.

They also wreak havoc on the pipelines placed by the government and oil companies. One can deduce through the text the immense poverty and suffering dominating the area even though they produce the most important natural resource the economy of the country thrives on.