The most refreshing part of reading stories by non-American writers is that they often break western formulas. This is one reason why the now deceased Nigerian-British writer Buchi Emecheta remains my favorite storyteller. She was the author of more than 20 books, I have read nine of them. Competing for that title now is Gambian Sanusi Camara with the release of his second novel, “Call Me Abou.”
Abou lost his father before he was born. His mother remarried and his life became bright until his stepfather passed away. Unlike in too many western stories, his stepfather was fair to him and his mother was just to her stepson. For Camara, having a stepmom or mother-in-law be the evil person is not the norm as often is in stories from Cinderella to The Jeffersons. "The author doesn't think it's normal," he responded to Port of Harlem in third person.
In one particular case, after Abou had been noncompliant, his birth mom did not allow him to eat with the polygamous family while the stepson ate. “Normally, the child under punishment is exempted from the meal. The child can be punished by a stepmom, uncle, bother, a friend of the parent, or even an outsider who has connection,” he says.