Where Women are Kings; Christie Watson
Other Press - 2015
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.