Little Family by Ishmael Beah is a beautiful story about 5 young people living on the outskirts of society.
Elimane, Khoudiemata, Ndevui, Kpindi, and the youngest, Namsa rely on one another creating ways to survive in their world. They survive through wit and ingenuity while being very careful and alert to their surroundings.
I was caught up in the beauty of the Little Family. Each personality shined through uniquely as the story unfolds. Khoudi stands out the most. She is a young woman learning more about herself and her needs. She starts embarking on excursions separate from the Little Family. She longs to be a part of the world where she is accepted.
At a turn of events, the Little Family engages with a man that offers them top secret jobs for good pay. They begin to make some money that helps the Little Family be fed and comfortable. At least for a while.
You'll be immersed by the imagery of the story. I imagined the facial expressions of the characters, the heat of the sun, the sweat on their shirts, and the ocean breeze on their faces. Beah creates a world that you just wrap yourself in and you'll be sad to separate from the Little Family when it's all over.
But before completing the book, you'll find that Ishmael Beah touches on colonialism and its erasure of culture. He shows how colonization denies people the stories of their ancestry. He shows us that when marginalized people collide with affluence it creates resentment in those with less. The ease of wealth and comfortability to not worry about when the next meal will come is juxtaposed to the plight of the Little family. Moreover, this story highlights corrupt politicians and their continued assault on its citizens.
This story is about resiliency of the marginalized. It's about embracing one's heritage and ethnic roots, all while seeing the impact of white colonialism.