4 out of 4 stars
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Kalayla by Jeannie Nicholas is a very interesting book to read. It captures three generations of women living at the time in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lena was a 72 years old woman in 1999-2000. She continues to bear the guilt of poor training that she gave to her children when they were growing up. She was first bedevilled by her unhappy marriage to her husband, her wayward sons, two of which died in the Vietnam war as American soldiers. She had grown to be a lonely, unhappy woman when she met Maureen, a young widow and her 11 years old daughter Kalayla. Maureen was an Irish woman married to a black man, which probably led to her being rejected after the death of her husband. She is now entirely on her own, struggling to take care of her daughter by working long hours while Kalayla lough around in the street.
Kalayla being a charming young girl, make Lena take an interest in her. She was further encouraged not to allow Kalayla on her own when she remembered the mistakes she made with her husband when her boys were growing up. Lena wants to help shape the life of Kalayla while something can still be done for her. This brings the three women together, and they bond like a family over the space of a year and a half.
The storyline was properly developed and superbly written. I can imagine the voice of the characters as they express themselves to me in the book. The author does a very good job of bringing the characters together in this beautifully written book. It is a book that can be read and enjoyed by all categories of readers.
What I like about the book is that it capture the problem of racism in our world, which is still very potent in our world today despite various anti-racism charter and campaign. The book equally addresses family feuds that takes place when you marry into a perceived enemy nation or tribe. Maureen suffers all this injustice with a made-up mind, never complaining about her problems. I love equally the character of Kalayla, a typical 11-year-old and the innocence of a child despite her bold and forward going personality. The book equally speaks on the trials of mothers—their fear, hope and expectation for their children even when the men are carefree and frivolous.
I cannot think of a thing that is wrong in the book. No profanity, simple style, easy to read and understand, professionally edited, all is perfect with this book, so I am happy to score Kalayla 4 out of 4 stars. I can confidently recommend this book to everyone that love family books to read. It can be shared by all members of the family, particularly families with growing kids.
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