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The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

The Other Side of Truth (edition 2007)

by Beverley Naidoo

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309836,089 (3.78)6
Title:The Other Side of Truth
Authors:Beverley Naidoo
Collections:Your library
Tags:Children's and YA, General Fiction

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The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo


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In Lagos twelve year old Sade and her ten year old brother Femi are getting ready for school when they hear the sound of shots: they find their mother lying dead in their father's arms in their driveway, after getting in the way of a bullet meant for her husband, a journalist on an English language newspaper who has received death threats for his criticism of the Nigerian government. Within hours further death threats have been received and Sade's father, Folarin Solaja, decides that both he and his children must leave the country at once. The same night the children are given into the care of a woman who will smuggle them into Britain where they can live with their uncle who teaches at a London college, while their father will travel separately under a false passport as his own has been siezed by the government. But when the children arrive in London their uncle does not meet them at Heathrow and they are abandoned by their so-called protector; when they attempt to trace their uncle at his college he has disappeared and has not been seen for a week. Wondering alone late at night on the streets of London the children are eventually found by police, and passed into the hands of social services to find them emergency accomodation. Not knowing whether their father has escaped from Nigeria they are frightened to give their real names, but as they are clearly traumatised they are granted temporary permission to stay in Britain and placed with a foster family. But what has happened to their uncle and will they be reunited with their father...

Much of the book deals with Sade's experience as she attempts to settle at her new school, where she is bullied by some of her new classmates, and the parallels between this and her father's experiences standing up to the authorities in Nigeria, give the books its title. Because she is from Africa she is assumed not to speak English, and not to able to spell her own name, whereas in fact Sade has been brought up speaking English as well as Yoruba from birth, and is a well-educated girl who attended a good school in Lagos. These assumptions don't seem particularly racist in character, as some of the bullies are Caribbean in origin, but seem more to reflect the stereotypes that children might pick up about Africa given what is normally seen on the television. I was particularly interested in the portrayal of schools in the U.K. versus schools in Nigeria as I work closely with someone of Nigerian origin who has sent her own children to boarding school there in preference to them attending the schools locally. Saying that in my son's class there are three children from Nigeria who have gone the other way.

Altogether a good YA read, with some similarities to Pigeon English that I read earlier in the year. ( )
  SandDune | Mar 25, 2012 |
6, 7, 8, Africa, Nigeria, siblings, refugees ( )
  leaheg | Aug 23, 2011 |
The main characters are Sade and her younger brother Femi who live in Nigeria. Trouble starts when the mother is murdered in a drive by shooting by members of the military government. This is the culmination of threats made at their journalist father who writes “truth” for a local newspaper. For the safety of the children, who could be the next targets, Sade and Femi are sent to London. The couple who take them to London abandon the children upon arrival and Child Services step in and place them in temporary shelter. Because the children don’t know who to trust and cannot contact the uncle that was supposed shelter them, they give fake names and do not talk about what happened or how they came to be in London. The children don’t know if they will ever see their father again and are troubled by the memory of their mother’s murder and they become targets for bullies in the school they were placed.
  kkcrossley | Apr 25, 2010 |
Sade lives in Nigeria with her mother (a nurse), her father (a journalist), and her younger brother, Femi. Her father writes articles for the last remaining newspaper in Nigeria that dares to publish the truth about Nigeria's brutal military government.

When their mother is killed by government gunmen, their father hires a woman to pose as their mother and smuggle them into London, where they will stay with an uncle. Their father plans to join them as soon as he can get a fake passport.

Sade and Femi make it to London, but are left alone when their uncle does not meet them at the airport. After some scary experiences while wandering around a strange new city, they are taken in by a government agency that works with refugees. Not wanting to put their father in danger back in Nigeria, they lie about their last name and hometown. When their father makes it to London, he is imprisoned for entering the country with a fake passport.

This is a beautifully written novel and the descriptions and metaphors are stunning. The only part of the story that didn't work for me was the fact that Sade, so brave and true to herself when it comes to bringing her father's story to light, does the opposite when faced with bullies at school. Perhaps it was more realistic the way Naidoo wrote it, but I really wanted to see Sade stand up to her personal bullies just like her dad.

This is a compelling and moving novel. A must-read. ( )
  mrsdwilliams | Sep 21, 2009 |
Sade and her younger brother, Femi, must be smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother is killed. Their family is in danger as a result of their father's criticism of the Nigerian government.

The children arrive in England, bu their uncle does not meet them. They must find a way to survive. In the end, they discover, "The Truth will set you free."

Other books by this author: Chain of Fire ( )
  libraryleonard | Mar 5, 2008 |
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Sade is slipping her English book into her schoolbag when Mama screams.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064410021, Paperback)

Will the truth harm them -- or save them?

When Nigeria's corrupt military government kills their mother, twelve-year-old Sade and her brother Femi think their lives are over. Out of fear for their safety, their father, an outspoken journalist, decides to smuggle the children out of Nigeria and into London, where their uncle lives. But when they get to the cold and massive city, they find themselves lost and alone, with no one to trust and no idea when -- or if -- they will ever see their father again.

The Other Side of Truth is a gripping adventure story about courage, family, and the power of truth.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother's murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport and they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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