The Girl Who Saw Lions
tells the story of Abela, a young girl who has been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in her African village. Her uncle smuggles her to England planning to sell her as a domestic servant. Abandoned by everyone, Abela dreams of escaping back to Africa. She cherishes a battered car her father fashioned from a discarded Coke can. In a parallel plot line, Rosa is a happy only child in London. When Rosa’s mother proposes adopting an African child, Rosa feels threatened. The girls’ stories are told in alternating chapters, and converge in the end. We learn that Abela and Rosa’s mother met long ago in Abela’s village. Though the conclusion is a little contrived, the contrast of cultures is an eye-opener. The girls’ characters are very believable and sympathetic.