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Title: Left With Shadows
Author: Udemma Chukwuma
Pages: 139
Chapters: 16
Publisher: Topseal Communication Ltd
ISBN- 978-978-972-720-9
Year of Publication: 2020
Reviewer: Dr Raphael James

This is a thought-provoking novel that addresses the implications of divorce as children, whose parents are separated, often suffer psychological and emotional trauma. This book project the many dangers such as depression, hopelessness, loneliness, lack of sense of belonging, hatred, suicidal thoughts which are very common with children from a broken home. 
The only source of livelihood burning down to ash is as bad as it can get after all the other things Nwakaego has put up with. The book captures the expressions of each character and helps in making them come alive, to feel what they feel. It also captures part of our culture, village life.

The pain of a child having been put in a situation that forced her to learn fast and hard. Nwakaego (the child is superior to Money) the main character was a very withdrawn child and had no one to talk to when push became shove, she made a bad and harmful decision because she didn’t know better, she was too trusting to a fault, she craved the love of a mother and father at a point she wanted someone… anyone who will love her or just accept her, and her feeling unwanted and unloved was what lead her to make harmful choices to become suicidal but before all this, she was once a happy child or at least her situation wasn’t as bad as it was after her relocating to Eko, Nwakaego learnt the hard way that all that glitters isn’t gold. This book captures the journey of a young girl who just wanted to go to school.

The sad truth here is that ‘Left with shadows’ is not just a story, it is an everyday reality, it happens to children. A child once bright and bubbling with dreams in the village decides to move to the city with the wrong person or generally living with the wrong adult, their dreams die and it crushes them. 

On two occasions Nwakaego attempted suicide, after her uncle Ojo, the man she called daddy, the man who was married to her guardian, Aunty Ndubunma had violated her. She had several sleepless nights out of fear that uncle Ojo may sneak in the dark and have his ways again on her. 

Perhaps what was more painful for Nwakaego was that she could have lived her dream in the village but she saw another opportunity that she considered better and trusted, and when she was so close to feeling her victory it was snatched from her. Life was cruel for her and nobody loved her, so she believed till she went to a new place with new hope and never looking back.

The book is beautifully scripted and the narration is more like seeing a movie, the book ended with a glossary of the non-English words and the meaning as used in the book. 

Udemma Chukwuma is a journalist, author and blogger. Her mother is a Cameroonian, and her father is a Nigerian. Left with Shadows is her debut novel. She is currently writing her second novel. She lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.