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Sweetness in the Belly

Sweetness in the Belly - Camilla Gibb

Once again, a book that makes me appreciate the privilege of growing up in a truly democratic country.  We may whine and grumble about the government of the day, but we have rights and opportunities that many in the world don't have or have been heavily denied in the past.


This book is the story of Lilly and her life in Ethiopia and later, in England. She is the only child of hippies who pass away when she's quite young.  After her parents passing, she becomes a devout Muslim woman, which has its challenges in Ethiopia, being that she is white.


The story takes place in the past, between 1970 and 1974 as well as in the "present", between 1981 and 1991.  The period of past is the last years of Emperor Haile Selassie's reign, when so much famine and inflation was happening in Ethiopia.  The present has Lilly living in and amongst the refugees from Africa and working in an organization that she's created, that helps to settle these refugees.


Suffice it to say that there are situations described that are horrific.  I was only a teenager when the Ethiopian famine was happening, but I certainly had no clue of the politics behind a lot of the famine.  Things happened in Ethiopia back then, that no human should have had to experience; things that, while fictionalized, are central to this this book.


Ms. Gibb tells the story without being exploitive or overly/unnecessarily graphic.  The story has a great flow that progresses to an appropriate end.  I'm glad I spent the time!


Long story short, this is a very good book.