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The Other Side of Truth Paperback – 27 Apr 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; FIRST EDITION edition (27 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141304766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141304762
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Beverley Naidoo was born in South Africa and grew up under apartheid. After arrest and detention without trial, she came to England. She married another exile and was only able to return freely twenty-six years later, after Nelson Mandela's release from jail. Their two children were brought up in England where she still lives. She goes back to South Africa to stay in touch, especially with young people. A teacher for many years, she has a doctorate in education and a number of honorary degrees. Journey to Jo'burg was her first children's book. It was an eye-opener for readers worldwide, winning awards, but it was banned in South Africa until 1991

Product Description

Amazon Review

Set during the Autumn of 1995 in the aftermath of Ken Saro-Wiwa's execution in Nigeria for alleged political crimes, Beverley Naidoo's frighteningly topical novel is a reminder about just how good children's teenage fiction can sometimes be. Tackling multiple themes--most importantly injustice, the right to freedom of speech, the complexities of political asylum, bullying and, ultimately, the strength of the family--The Other Side of Truth is a gripping story that undoubtedly deserves its widespread acclaim and success.

In turn, the narrative lunges from tragedy in the opening scene, to excitement as the young lead characters begin their bid for freedom, then to frustration as the seemingly safe haven of Britain turns out to be anything but.

Sade and her brother Femi are the children of an outspoken Nigerian journalist. When an assassination attempt on their father's life leaves their mother slain instead, their world is understandably turned upside down. The family must flee the country to survive. Sade and Femi are sent on ahead, escaping the country undercover as the children of a shady Nigerian woman called Mrs Bankhole. She unscrupulously abandons them in London and their only contact in this big, strange and alien capital city is their uncle--but he too is missing. With nowhere to go and nobody to turn to, they are soon swept up by the British legal system and Sade and Femi begin to wonder if they are any better off when they become the victims of bullying in their new, albeit temporary school.

A Silver Award winner in the 2000 Nestlé Smarties Awards, Naidoo's book is in many ways more than just a story. The author was born in South Africa and has written about that continent and discrimination before in a number of acclaimed books including Journey to Jo'burg and No Turning Back. She knew firsthand of the shocking situation in Nigeria in the mid-1990s through friends who were hopeful of a move towards democracy. She wanted to write about the effect of such politics on children and also, by setting a lot of the story in England, to draw attention to the fact that issues such as neglect of human rights and injustice are local issues too.

The book has a powerful tale to tell, tinged with enough echoes of truth to make it a compelling yet uncomfortable experience. (Age 12 and over) --John McLay

Review

'A marvellous read...that refuels the desire for justice and freedom'. - Jon Snow; 'This is a future classic'. - Times Educational Supplement --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Sade is slipping her English book into her schoolbag when Mama screams. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Roseanne (roseannemg@aol.com) on 14 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed The Other Side of Truth because it was a seat-gripping nail-biting story. It has a sad beginning but don't let it stop you reading the book. Two children called Sade and Femi have to leave Nigeria and come to London by themselves and they face many problems. I think this is a great book for anybody over the age of 9 years to read - my Mum really enjoyed it too.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
A moving account of separation and political asylum told through the eyes of Sade and her brother Femi who as a result of their mother's untimely death must depart for London - alone. The text deals well with real issues (fear, loss, politcal trouble, asylum and racism) in a heart-warming and approachable manner. Naidoo traces the childrens journey in a well-documented fashion. Her novel speaks out on many levels, but above all she highlights the very notion that if "you keep quiet about the truth, injustice always wins". The novel becomes a clever blend of fact and fiction. I highly recommend this book to readers of all ages, since it is both fascinating, gripping and educational.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Allhug on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the first Young Adult book I've read since being a child myself and I admit that I'd forgotten just how powerful those stories can be.

This was a very well written tale of oppression told from the point of view of a 12 year old girl. I found it to be an authentic voice and that, along with the engaging plot made this an easy read. The messages of tolerance were the most powerful images for me - it's good to step into someone else's shoes sometimes to get a broader view of the world and I can see that the target audience for this book will have their minds opened.

I would have liked to have known more about life in Nigeria, the daily rhythms as well as the political situation, but I liked how the author drew parallels between bullying in british schools and political repression in opressed countries. As our schools become more and more multi-cultural the younger generation is going to put us to shame in terms of their empathy and understanding of the wider world around us.

This was, for me, a very enjoyable book with a solid purpose.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a brilliant book, and I would reccomend anyone to read it. It is a gripping story, about refugees, and the danger of walking the London streets at night. This book takes you through the guilt trip after stealing, the meaning of friendship and the price of telling the truth. A perfect example of showing how one lie can lead to another. This book is very well written and I anticipate her next book. Even if you prefer famous novels, I advise you to read about this, it will change your veiw on lying and make you thankful we live in a democracy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T J MURRELL on 2 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
socially aware, young adult fiction . Didactic rather than entertaining. Not voluntarily read, rather, required by teachers as educationally valuable.
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By sezzie_v on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for my degree level Children's Literature course and I can honestly say it was one of the better of 14 novels.
It is a well researched novel about political oppression and asylum and is also partly based on the writer's own experiences.
The way it is written, from the viewpoint of Sade (shaa-day), a young Nigerian girl, is insightful and allows for a freshness of vision on the topics of asylum seeking. Cultural barriers are broken down as the reader begins to empathise with the children's experiences and start to question why does this happen? how can we make this better?
A great read and one that has compelled me to read Naidoo's follow-up novel Web of Lies (about Sade's little brother Femi) and her first novel Journey to Jo'Burg.

An excellent read!

"Beverley Naidoo has struck home again, bringing together the critical themes of political oppression, exile, Africa and childhood. The Other Side of Truth has resonances of the execution of the Nigerian writer Ken Saro-Wiwa.... Not only a marvellous read but one that refuels the desire for justice and freedom within and beyond our shores."
From the Foreword by Jon Snow of Channel 4
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By Karen Lelli on 19 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down. It reaches out to the reader, and I kept turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. It was great to read from the perspective of the children, as someone who works with EAL and vulnerable youngsters, and has given me an insight into their lives outside of being deposited at a new school in a strange country. It was interesting to know the background the children have escaped from. This should be on the school curriculum to educate children who share a class with students from different cultures to increase empathy and acceptance.
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Format: Paperback
I recommended this book to my daughter, having read good reviews on Amazon. I decided to read it first as she was finishing another book. It is a very well written book. It should appeal to everyone and I found the fact that the author was giving nicknames to some of the characters quite fun. It really feels like a child talking. It is also a great read for adults as this gives an opportunity to learn more about Nigeria and the fight for the freedom of the press.
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