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The Attic Child – Lola Jaye

A warning: this book talks a lot about child abuse and neglect.

Title: The Attic Child

Author: Lola Jaye

Genre Historical Fiction

Plot: Dikimbe is the youngest child of a family of five kids. He lives outside of a village in Africa, in what is today called Zaire. A rich Englishman named Sir Richard Babbington back home to England him when Dikimbe is around 9. Sir Richard changes Dikimbe’s name to Celestine. Under Sir Richard, Celestine wants for nothing. As he grows up, Celestine learns the truth of how he was brought to England. He sees others from Africa who don’t have it as nice as him. He begins to resent Sir Richard. When Sir Richard dies and his cousins take over, Celestine’s life gets flipped upside down again. When he’s not working all day, his bedroom is now staying locked in the attic. Can Celestine survive his new way of life?

Almost one hundred years later, another person was locked in the attic during their dark childhood. Lowra is an orphan who prefers to keep herself anonymous and live in the shadows. Her past keeps her distant from everyone. When the owners of the house she grew up in die, she grabs the two things that meant something to her and leaves. That house has too many dark memories for her. But something in Lowra makes her want to find the original owners of her keepsakes. This leads her on a journey of self discovery and what really happened to the previous captive of the attic.

Rating: 4.0 a great historical fiction that shows the darker side of colonialism

Opinion: This was a great book. It’s not often you read a book about African colonialism from the mind of a child. They don’t always know about the conflicts around them. They don’t always know the behind the scenes things that happen. They know what happens in the moment. They don’t always know why. It broke my heart to hear Dikimbe/Celestine’s story. As an American, I tend to think more of the slave trade than colonialism when it comes to Africa before the 1900’s. It pissed me off to learn a different side of colonialism. It’s not as nice as we’ve made it out to be. The author does a great job writing through the hard times the characters went through. She knows what she’s writing about and has clearly done her research. There are very good distinctions between the switches between the characters points of view. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like this book, but I ended up really enjoying it. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves historical fiction.

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