Little Family by Ishmael Beah; a succinct tale of survival, utmost privilege and its absence, community and family follows five youngsters (Khoudi, Elimane, Namsa, Kpindi and Ndevui) who are not related but found themselves living as a family in an abandoned plane. These five are street smart and they take care of themselves.

Survival had a way of narrowing one’s thinking, even about oneself. She longed to be with those who had the luxury of viewing life differently, if naively.”

Khoudi strives to be invisible yet she wants to enjoy the delights that being part of the upper class brings. Elimane is always with a book. He is street smart and book smart; his life a sharp contrast to the supposed life a book smart person should have. Namsa, the youngest is always plagued with nightmares yet she is so cheerful and curious. Kpindi and Ndevui are two peas in a pod.



I don’t want to choose between surviving and living.”

This story depicts how unfair social statuses can be, how disappointing the government can be and how dirty politics is.

I particularly enjoyed how Beah portrayed the contrasting elements of living in abundance and living in want. As the characters started to come to life, we are met with what ticks them, their motivation and what they would like to be, if life gives them a chance.

Each day is a different story but those days feel like the same. The story tells of hope and dreams and the nightmares that comes with hoping.

“No, correction. If you are poor and you steal, then you are a thief. If you are a politician, then you are corrupt.”


Ishmael Beah’s writing is pressing while vague, haunting yet tender. He tells the story of struggle and lack and pain.


Should you read?

Don’t let the world ruin you, young child. You do not need a day of independence. You are free every day.”

If you enjoy books that tell engrossing yet vague stories about characters and leaves you wanting to know the characters physically, read this book.

However, check around, there is a little family near you!