Working Title: Given Over
After his father dies and he is stripped of citizenship, Solomon must recreate family/community in order to survive the systems that seek to destroy him and the world around him
At every turn, Fallu, Solomon’s father, thwarts the boy’s ability to get ahead. First, he abandons his son and daughter, Blessing. Then he has a daughter, Alicia Amal, who he dotes on. Fallu never misses an opportunity to disappoint his son and show him that he doesn’t love him. From not paying child support to missing soccer games, to never calling or showing up in the boy’s life. Even when he is threatened with deportation to Sierra Leone, the country he fled during the civil war, his concern is never for Solomon. After his death, Fallu negatively affects his children in that his immigrant status leaves them subject to the political whims of an America under a fascistic regime which strip the citizenship of children of immigrants leaving them stateless and vulnerable. But, is it fair to lay all of this at his feet? Afterall, America’s downturn affects him too as his immigration status is ripped from him and he faces deportation to the country he fled 20 years ago. Maybe the real villain is America which, like a rampaging elephant is trampling Fallu and Solomon underfoot like grass.
Ex 3 Breakout title
· Given Over
· When Elephants Rampage
· Released into the Time of Shameful lusts
Ex 4 Comparables
· Homeland Elegies (personal account of life in the time of Trump)
· Years and Years (HBO mini-series)
· The Plot Against America (family watches as the country moves toward fascism and has to weigh how to survive)
· Upcoming: The next Civil War (Marche)/non-fiction; Without a handle (Joe Milan- fiction); and, Ben + Beatriz (Gamara) fiction.
Ex. 5 Hook
In a fascist leaning America what happens if Solomon’s teenage rebellion of truancy and marijuana smoking, means he is stripped of US citizenship and deported to the country his father fled 20 years earlier seeking safety from tyranny: Sierra Leone.
America strips citizenship from 16 y.o. Solomon who is grieving his father’s death and deports him to the country his father fled 20 years ago: Sierra Leone. How will he survive and will he ever see his homeland again?
Ex 6 primary conflict
Fifteen-year-old Solomon has always longed for a relationship with his father, Fallu. When Fallu dies, Solomon refuses to accept the loss and acts out violently with his mother, skips school and smokes pot. When Solomon is arrested for truancy, Fallu again causes Solomon’s life to make a major shift. The son of an immigrant, Solomon’s truancy qualifies him for de-citizenshipping and deportation to the country his father fled for safety 20 years earlier: Sierra Leone.
Stripped of every comfort he has ever know, alone in a foreign land that he knows nothing about, Solomon is forced to accept that his father and his country, although beloved by him, have abandoned him. By contrast, he is adopted by this new country finding love, family and belonging until the country is over-run by dispossessed former Americans with Sierra Leonian blood and Solomon is caught in the middle. Who is he? American? Sierra Leonian? Neither?
Fallu comes of age in the midst of the Sierra Leonian civil war. A victim of both the rebels and the army, he is eventually able to flee to the US but the trauma he experienced there follows him. When his relationship with Solomon’s mother fell apart, the only good thing Fallu had to hold onto was his youngest child, Solomon’s half-sister, Alicia Amal. She is the only good thing in his life; the reason he keeps fighting to survive and thrive in the US. But when the country elects Donald J. Banner and rescinds the legal status of millions and begins deporting refugees and back to the countries they fled, Fallu has to figure out how to survive and more importantly, what to do about Alicia Amal.
Just as Solomon finds love and a hope for a future in Sierra Leone in the form of beautiful Maseray, he learns that his mother is in prison for murdering the woman who reported his truancy years before. The revelation sends Solomon into a spiral of self-hate. He knows his mother killed the woman because she was avenging him. He knows also that the fact that she is in prison means his little sister, Blessing, is alone. And he knows it is all his fault. If he hadn’t acted out…If he hadn’t blamed his mom for his dad’s abandonment…none of this would have happened. His fears that he is as bad as his father plague him and threaten to upend all that he has fought so hard to develop. How can Maseray and her family accept him as a credible suitor? Once again, his father threatens to destroy his future. Will he lose the girl? Is he forever tainted by his father’s past and now his mother’s crime?
Solomon’s sisters, meet for the first time in the country’s system of immigrant detention centers for children called Guest Lodging. Traumatized and alone, they quickly forge a strong bond. When the sister’s are faced with deportation, Blessing is offered the chance to escape. Will she abandon Alicia Amal to face Sierra Leone on her own?
Three major settings:
Northern VA suburb where Solomon lives with his mother and sister. Fallu also lives with Alicia Amal and her mother in NOVA. Alicia Amal also lives with Fallu and then her foster parents in NoVA suburbs.
Freetown Sierra Leone but mainly in the home of the families that have adopted Solomon: Charles/Missus and the Pastor’s wife Ma’am.
The various Guest lodgings that Blessing and Alicia Amal live in over the years.