Friday, November 11, 2016
The Bitter Side of Sweet
This fiction account of the bitter side of the chocolate industry is based on fact. Many times the cacao farms are using children as slaves to pick the beans. In this story, Amadou and his younger brother, Seydou, are two such slaves. Both are from Mali and left their homes to search for work. They were tricked into believing they would be paid for the work they did and now they are stuck on a plantation - abused, hungry, and hopeless. When a girl, Khadija, shows up Amadou knows something is odd. After she tries to escape several times, she and the boys finally are successful and make their way back to Khadija's mother who is a reporter working on a story of the cacao industry.
Overall I thought the book was well done and could be the first exposure that our children have to the injustice being done in the production of one of our favorite treats. My main objection is the rape or at least abuse of Khadija. This part of the book is purposely I am sure left s bit vague but yet when Kahadija gets home it doesn't seem like it is that big of a deal. Maybe the author did this intentionally because of the audience but it bothered me. I think overall the incident would not be truly recognized by my readers but for readers who do understand what may have happened the resolution was not satisfactory - at least on paper.