Sunday, March 1, 2020

Mangoes in the Rain: No one can take away your Imaginations

Today I am introducing my readers to "Mangoes in the Rain: No one can take away your Imaginations" by Chinaemelum Menakaya. Based on the author's life, she tells of her struggles as she confronts her traumatic upbringing. Menakaya says, "My book was therapeutic for me write and I hope that others can be helped in the process of healing." This is a remarkable story that demonstrates that we do not have to be confined by our past, rather, we can define ourselves to heal. I hope you enjoy learning about the book and the author.


Mangoes in the Rain: No one can take away your Imaginations Paperback – January 16, 2020 

In 2002, fifteen-year-old Chinaemelum leaves America, to go to Nigeria for summer break. Months later, she fights for her life against malaria. Summer is over and her father refuses to give her back her passport to return to America with her mother. She is kept in Nigeria against her will, he puts her in a all girls boarding school, where she struggles to adapt to life, in a 3rd world country.

Two and a half years later, she and her siblings escape out of their fathers house to the American Embassy in Lagos for hopes of leaving Nigeria. She is adamant about expressing her trauma of abandonment, abuse, and her survival mechanism then and now. Out of this tragedy, she's able to overcome and be of a success today. She voices the portrayals of her childhood and teen years growing up Nigerian American in America to Nigerian parents.

Raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, by a Christian Pastor and wife, life is portrayed in public as a God fearing couple, but behind close doors Chinaemelum witness her father often beating her mother. He eventually begins to abuse Chinaemelum, by calling her a hoar and a prostitute at age thirteen. Chinaemelum had high hopes when she heard she was going to Nigeria for the summer. She had no idea the gravity of the horrific adventure about to take place. Chinaemelum has been writing for more than twelve years.

Chinaemelum Menakaya
Author of "Mangoes in The Rain"

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.

I grew up in the suburbs of Silversprings, Maryland. I went to mostly private schools growing up, Capital Christian Academy in Maryland is where I went to middle school. I currently reside in Alexandria, Virginia. I make a living as a professional organizer and I am a new author.

What inspired you to author this book?

My traumatic upbringing as a child by my parents. I’ve loved writing since I was a pre-teen but as I got older, I couldn’t find a more therapeutic way of healing then writing my story to share with others and hopefully during the process helping others who are in pain.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

I lived in Nigeria for two years and there was a mango tree in front of the house we lived in. Being a picky eater, the mangoes never disappointed me, they were so good to eat, rain or shine I would sit on the ground near the tree and eat mangoes allot, it was a happy place for me.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

My uncle has been a significant influence on me. He always builds me up when I feel low, he’s compassionate and listens to me.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

My struggles with writing this book was reliving some hurtful times I had in my life in which I had to write about. I got emotional at specific areas writing this book. I had to overcome my mental state in regard to feeling a bit depressed and being anxious writing this book. I had to decide if my story would upset family members or disappoint family friends who had no idea about what I was choosing to write. I had to think should I just try to forget all what happened, or do I tell my story?

Tell your readers about your book.

“Mangoes in the Rain” is about growing up in a household where in the public we were like a perfect happy church going family, but behind closed doors there was violence toward my mother and to my siblings and I from our father who was a pastor. I would be physical and emotionally abused, by my father, at the age of thirteen, my father would call me a whore and a prostitute to the point I began to believe him. At fifteen years old, our father and mother took us to Nigeria for the summer trip, after summer was over, despite my father knowing, I wanted to return to America. He kept me in Nigeria against my will. He enrolled me into an all girls private school, and I had to shave my head and learn how to live in a 3rd world country. I got malaria a few times and almost died. I eventually snuck out of the house to the embassy two years later to live back in America. This book is about survival.

Who is your target audience, and why?

Young adults, girls, women, mothers, fathers, children.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

I never thought I’d live up to thirty, I am thirty-four  now. My greatest success is being alive (never giving up) and realizing how far I’ve come, despite the process of how I raised and what I went through. When I say I didn’t think I’d live up to thirty it sounds crazy, but the struggles, the abuse, emotional  and physically makes anyone not one to live so I’m happy for winning and be appreciative of my life today.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

It’s personal, raw and straightforward, I don’t leave anything out.