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Buried beneath the Baobab Tree, by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Viviana Mazza.

June 15, 2018

Buried beneath the Baobab Tree
Buried beneath the Baobab Tree, by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani and Viviana Mazza.  Katherine Tegen Books, 2018.


4 stars

Powerful, fictional and factual accounts of the young women captured by Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.

Two journalists, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani from Nigeria and Viviana Mazza, from Italy, have joined forces to bring the stories of the captured girls to a wider audience.  The fictional section of the book starts with life in a village of Northern Nigeria where Christian and Muslim families are friends and the daughters attend school together.  Rumors of attacks increase and finally Boko Haram fighters attack the village. Many are killed. Some girls and women are captured and taken to a Boko Haram outpost where they live under horrible conditions and are forced to slave in the fields. As the girls started to menstruate, they were forced into sex with their captors and often gave birth.  Some died and were buried under the baobab tree; years later others are rescued.  Following the imaginative account is a factual account about Boko Harem and information taken from women who had been enslaved.

By making the stories of the captured women personal and real, the authors provide insight to readers who have only read the headlines about captured women.   Both the fictional and factual accounts are written in starkly simple language, language that seems almost too simple for the horrors being described.  The book is intended for Young Adult readers who could easily read it. Digesting the horror may be difficult for some no matter their age. For older readers, the simplicity intensifies the content.  These are narratives many of us do not want to face, but if we hope to prevent such conditions in the future, we must accept what they tell us about our world.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2018 4:10 pm

    This would be a hard book to read emotionally I suspect

    • June 19, 2018 9:35 am

      Yes, but the authors who tell the stories help readers keep some distance with their simple calm style.


      • June 19, 2018 1:45 pm

        They must have worked hard to achieve that Marilyn

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