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Udemma Chukwuma releases debut novel, Left with Shadows

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Chukwuma with her book

Left with Shadows, a thought-provoking novel by Udemma Chukwuma, is out. The novel addresses the implications of divorce as children, whose parents are separated, often suffer psychological and emotional trauma.

Chukwuma in this debut novel, engages Nwakaego, the protagonist, to project the many dangers such as depression, hopelessness, loneliness, lack of sense of belonging, hatred, suicidal thoughts which are very common with children from a broken home. The author says, sometimes, making children be at the mercy of relatives who exposes them to a lot of danger as such child abuse, child labour, thereby tampering with their mental health.

“The increase in children engaging in different forms of social vices could be attributed to lack of constant expression of love in homes, divorce and separation amongst couples. Such children, due to the psychological trauma of their parents’ separation take solace in friends who show them some love and at the long run might introduce them to some bad habits.”

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Chukwuma dedicates the 150 page-book to every child from a broken home. “I am talking to everyone out there with Left with Shadows, especially parents, who do not know the psychological and emotional trauma their child or children go through as a result of a broken home.

“It is of great importance for parents to stay together and nurture their children, to be responsible citizens because a broken child is a broken society,” she advises.”

On how she feels to become an author, the author who is overjoyed with her latest achievement, says: “There is nothing as fulfilling as having a copy of your own book in your hand, the feeling is beyond words.”
The novel would be available at bookstores from June but people can pre-order while the official launching would be made known as soon as the COVID-19 induced social distancing is relaxed across the federation.

Distraught, Nwakaego (the protagonist) on two occasions attempted to take her life. She was lonely, she was scared and she despaired, after Uncle Ojo, the husband of her guardian, Aunty Ndubunma, had violated her. She suddenly realised she had nobody but her own reflection. She began to have trouble getting to sleep; or staying asleep; as the thought of Uncle Ojo again creeping up on her, in the dark, continued suffocating her.

Chukwuma is a journalist, an arts and culture reporter. Her mother is a Camerounian while the father, a Nigerian. Left with Shadows is her debut novel. She is currently writing her second novel. She lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.

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