By Osa Amadi
Arts and Culture journalist, Udemma Chukwuma, has joined the league of literary prose writers with her first novel, Left with Shadows.
The novel, expected to hit the bookstores from June 2020 will also be launched as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted all human activities globally recedes across the federation.
Left with Shadows addresses the impact divorce has on children who suffer psychological and emotional trauma when their parents separate from each other.
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The novel tells the story of Nwakaego, the protagonist, who battles depression, hopelessness, loneliness, lack of sense of belonging, hatred, and thoughts of suicide which are very common with children from broken homes.
On two occasions, Nwakaego had attempted to take her own life because she was lonely, scared, and despaired after Uncle Ojo, the husband of her guardian, Aunty Ndubunma, had violated her.
She had suddenly realised she had nobody but on her own. She was unable to sleep; the image of Uncle Ojo kept creeping up on her in the dark and suffocating her.
The author frowns at the practice of leaving children at the mercy of relatives who expose them to all manners of abuses such as child labour which affect their mental health.
She says sometimes delinquent behaviours among children are traceable to lack of love at homes and divorce.
“Such children, due to the psychological trauma resulting from their parents’ separation, take solace in friends who show them some love. And in the long run, those friends may introduce them to bad habits.
I am using Left with Shadows to talk to everyone out there, especially parents, who do not know the psychological and emotional trauma their children go through when a home is broken.
It is important for parents to stay together and nurture their children into responsible citizens because a broken child is a broken society,” she says.
On how she feels becoming an author, Udemma says, “there is nothing as fulfilling as having a copy of your own book in your hands; the feeling is beyond words.”
The 150-page book is dedicated to all children from broken homes. Udemma Chukwuma is of a Cameroonian mother and a Nigerian father.