Sixteen year old Alyna Kalisa returns from school to find a note from her big sister, Adisa, saying that she’s left home to start a new life. Adisa has been looking after Alyna, the 14-year-old brother Kibo Kalisa and her own son, Simeon Kafuuma (four). Now the three children are on their own. Afraid that they will be taken to an abandoned children’s home if anyone finds out that they’re on their own, Alyna and Kibo agree to tell no one that their big sister is gone. As the two struggle to manage the household on their own, Simmi’s pre-school teacher notices that something is not right and begins to snoop around. Meanwhile, Alyna and Kibo are discovering details of their sister’s secret life…
The late Joel Benjamin Nevender wrote that this book was meant for a younger audience and I couldn’t agree more. So, as an experiment, I gave this book to my younger school-going cousin to read and asked her to write a review of the book. She obliged. So I’ll be sharing her thoughts as well as mine.
Deserted delves into the lives of a family of orphans whose big sister has suddenly disappeared leaving her child and siblings behind. This comes as a shock to the kids as their big sister had been their surrogate mother, their parents having been killed by an assassin ten years earlier.
The author, Bob Kisiki, gets the reader into the minds of these children and how they are affected by the this life-altering event.
The book shows that there are people with good intentions in the world, not ones with ulterior motives as much as it casts a light on secret lives.
My “problem” with the book is that I found the luck that befalls the kids, after their big sister…er… deserts them, a little too good to be true.
I think as an older reader, I wanted just a tad bit more friction and tension. I also found myself wanting to know more and understand the darkness that shrouded Adisa, the older sister.
I quite enjoyed the little lessons found therein which further cements the theory that this was meant for a younger audience. I loved the simplicity of the story, I was, surprisingly moved by it, but then again I’m a softy at heart. The simplicity of the language too. I liked the snippets into Ugandan life; the boda bodas, traffic jam, markets, school life, church etc.
Read it? Yes! Then gift it to the neighbourhood teenager, the sister, the cousin, the nephew, the niece.
What my 16 year old cousin wrote:
I enjoyed this story and book very much. I loved how Alyna and Kibo managed to take care of their nephew even though they quarrelled and how they didn’t let this affect Simmi. I loved how they were managed at each moment of difficulty. I loved that they worked together and their combined effort to run the house and take care of Simmi. It was a very good story.
This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.
For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.