THEN SHE WAS BORN
A baby is born. The parents have waited for months for their precious new daughter. But wait! Something is wrong. The father is not happy. He calls his baby daughter a curse, a judgment. What a horrible thing to say. In THEN SHE WAS BORN, by author Christiano Gentili, this happens.
The newborn is a zeru, zeru, a “white shadow,” an albino. She brings bad luck to not only her family, but to the whole village. In Tanzania, they believe she belongs to the spirit of the lake so they take the newborn to the lake and leave her for the spirits to determine her fate: life or death.
I cannot imagine believing a baby is evil. I cannot believe parents would leave a newborn to the fate of wild things and nature. I understand, however, that customs differ from country to country. Beliefs can change, however, and I pray that in countries like Tanzania, they will. For children like Adimu, who does not understand why no one loves her and why her skin is different, customs need to change.
I love her innocence, and I admire her grandmother, NKimba, who risked all to raise the child. This is a tender story of family, love, misunderstandings, and changes. And someday, for all the children around the world like Adimu, I pray that they will not face the same problems that she faces.
THEN SHE WAS BORN would make a great addition to high school classrooms and libraries. Recommended. I was given a copy of the book for my honest review.
From the cover of the book we are allowed to show the background of the story.
"This is a work of fiction based on true events. A girl named Adimu, the protagonist of this novel, does not exist. Both Adimu and the succession of events narrated in the story are fruit of the author’s imagination. However, every individual among the thousands of individuals with albinism living in sub-Saharan Africa— and this is a fact— has experienced at least some of the episodes the character Adimu faces. In this sense, and only in this, are the events in this novel to be considered absolutely and incredibly true."
Cristiano Gentili. Then She Was Born