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Morenike' Matory
Morenike' , author
The Singleton family of Huguenot Island, South Carolina are a proud but humble one. They work tirelessly to drive the legacy of their once enslaved ancestors through ownership of a restaurant and land. All in all, life seems fulfilling for the Gullah family but Sparrow Singleton is not happy. She is tired of being ridiculed for her native creole and she is fed up with bad spirits leeching off her innocent little sister at night while she stands by powerless. At the ripe age of eighteen, Sparrow impulsively leaves home after graduation to find a new normal. She vows that nothing short of a miracle can make her return. Little Dove Singleton has struggled with fertility all her adult life. She has endured her share of miscarriages and stillbirths but her faith won’t allow her to stop trying. Finally, ten years after Sparrow ran away, Little Dove carries a girl child to full term. The family deems the birth the miracle needed to get Sparrow to visit home. Upon return to Huguenot Island, Sparrow is quickly reminded why she left in the first place. Sparrow is immediately faced with tragedy when Little Dove dies from postpartum complications; her dying wish being that Sparrow raises her baby the Gullah way. As if facing her sister’s death and taking on a newborn wasn’t enough, Sparrow learns that real estate developers have been aggressively pursuing her family’s sacred land. The Singleton family leans on Sparrow to lead them to triumph in the legal battle for their livelihood but she is up for the challenge? While she spends quality time with her family, she is flooded with memories of her upbringing and learns that resort development is rapidly swallowing her Gullah roots; a culture she once denounced out of shame. \tSparrow faces the dilemma of disregarding her sister’s dying wish and returning to the new life she spent years building. But the spirit of her ancestors and the fading memory of her Gullah roots tug at her heart. Will Sparrow face her new reality or abandon her family again? GirlChild is a story about the preservation of culture and the strength of family.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10


Plot/Idea: This striking plot centers on the complex Singleton family, as they face internal turmoil and an external world continually forcing change into their lives. Conflict is introduced gradually, adding to the story’s unhurried, leisurely pace, but the character-driven moments stand out.

Prose: Morenike' crafts a world full of rich heritage, as the characters work to keep their Gullah background alive in the face of the mainstream culture they’re continually thrust into. From snippets of the Gullah language to boo hags tormenting the family to watchful ancestors, the story brims with ancient mystery alongside contemporary uncertainties.

Originality: This gentle portrayal of a beautiful culture against a clashing mainstream is well done through the eyes of the Singleton family. Morenike’ allows the family the depth necessary to showcase their customs, while seamlessly weaving their legacy into the wider world. 

Character/Execution: GirlChild is a lavish homage to family and culture that unfolds through the story’s skillfully drawn characters. Sparrow is a spotlight throughout, with the dissonance of her home culture and her desire to forge a life of her own making playing out in her everyday life, and her return to her roots is intensely done—while still paying respect to her longing for change. 

Date Submitted: April 01, 2024