We meet Chanda as she waits in the office at Bateman's Eternal Light Funeral Services. She is there to arrange the funeral of her half sister Sara, who died age one and a half. She is helping becasue her mother is still holding Sara and her step father is lying drunk somewhere and Chanda is the eldest child living in the home. Chanda is an intelligent young woman who has lived through some very tough times in her short 16 year life. She wants to continue with her schooling, she wants to be a writer, she has dreams but the realities of her life, of the lives of her family members crowd out those dreams. The realities of life as a child in a society where many of the adults are dying of disease, in mine accidents and through poverty mean that her friend also is forced to make some terrible choices.
Chanda is someone who cares, who is resourceful and who finally decides that the prejudice and fears of other will not dictate the actions she takes to care for the people she loves. This is a powerful novel and well deserving of the medals and awards it has received.
Allan Stratton's website Annick Press website and promo Annick's book trailer