The Book That Made Me: David Almond 20/03/19
The Other Side of Truth
Femi and Sade’s father is a journalist, a truth-teller, and someone who gets on the wrong side of the Nigerian authorities. When their mother is shot dead in front of them, the bullet was meant for him.
Sade and her brother are ripped from their comfortable, happy life and sent to England for their safety – illegally and against their will.
This novel wholly deserves its classic status. The Other Side of Truth won the Carnegie Medal in 2000 but the trauma and murder endured by Sade and her family, and their experience of fleeing the familiar to become refugees in an alien country, is still relevant and poignant.
Seen through the eyes of two brave, but frightened, children, this is a story of terror, loss, love and humanity.
Naidoo never falls into the trap of making this a narrative of white saviours, or painting England as a rescuing paradise: Femi and Sade are traumatised, and they want to go home. Their struggle is theirs, their bravery comes from their identity and although they find friends in England, their longing for Nigeria, the past and home is unquenchable and the author never shies away from exploring their complex emotions.