An essay I wrote about the book "The Heaven Shop" by Deborah Ellis.
The Heaven Shop Essay
Sometimes, an event may happen that will change the course of ones life for forever, sometimes for the better, more often, for the worst. Some people and up being traumatized forever, and unable to have a chance at a happy life. These people forget everything they were proud of and how to be happy once more. However, in the book The Heaven Shop by Deborah Ellis, the author sends a message. This message is that no matter how bad the event is, everybody can find something in life to be proud of and look forwards to, how one manages to move on after trauma and how one can manage to find themselves after their own personal problems.
Everybody should have something in their life to be proud and feel special about, and if they do not, their life will start to lose its meaning. For example, after Binti loses her job on the radio she loses herself and feels that everything special in her life has disappeared. She no longer has an esteemed position in society, and she falls into depression. However, she manages to stop looking back and start looking forwards into the future and be happy about her previous accomplishments. In addition, she starts taking pride in her new found skills, “And now she had other things to be proud of. She had stood up to Aunt Agnes. She could carry water etc…..” She finds pride in things in her everyday life and learns that they are things to be proud about. You can also see signs of this in many other books. The people who persevere and manage to remain proud throughout all their problems are the strongest ones and also the people who get a happy ending. Even though life is not a book, every single person should be able to find pride in something in their lives, and this is part of the theme of the book.
Another way that Binti manages is that she stops being a child and acts more like an adult. She starts helping instead of moping, and becomes more mature. One example of this is when she gives Memory her prefect pin as a gift. As Junie states “For you to give away something so precious… you’re not a child anymore, are you?” Growing up allowed Binti to look at her situation more maturely, and realize that those things were in the past and that it was time to move on. Sometimes, one just has to look at their situation coldly, and not be blinded by emotions of remorse or guilt. In addition, by doing work, she is working for a better life for her siblings and her cousins, and that is something that she is and should be proud of. Even though her new skills do not include being recognized by an entire nation, it is still something to be proud of, and everybody should realize this.
Sometimes, when something particularly traumatizing happens, a person becomes depressed and can not seem to move on and be happy. This happens to Memory, after being raped by her uncle’s friend. However, a person should find ways to recover after these traumatizing events. Memory manages to learn to not be ashamed of what happened, as Gogo states “Memory has nothing to feel shame about. She is a good girl, and a good mother.” A person should not hide their troubles and instead go to others for help. Gogo helps Memory be happy once more, remain positive and take pride and have hopes for her child. This way, everybody can find a way to be optimistic and have new hopes for the future.
A problem also happens to Junie, Kwasi and Jeremiah. After contracting HIV, Jeremiah loses himself for a while, as he states “When I was told I was HIV positive, I thought that the disease was all I was. There was no more Jeremiah, there was just HIV.” The same happens to Kwasi after being sent to jail and to Junie after she changes jobs and “entertains men” instead. When events like these happen, a person can lose themselves if they do not realize that some good things in their lives still exist and still live their lives to the fullest. Jeremiah finds himself after meeting with fellow HIV victims and sees that they are still able to live their lives happily. These people look at the bright things in life and try to move on. This is one of life’s most important skills, and by using this skill, anybody can be happy and look forwards to the future.
The message that no matter how bad a tragedy is, everybody can find something in life to be proud of and look forwards to, that everybody can manage to move on after their own personal problems and trauma and how one can find themselves after their troubles is soundly proven throughout this book. Deborah Ellis gives concrete evidence that people can and should life to their fullest. Many people, once something bad happens, they give up, lose hope and allow everything bad to keep on going without a fight. They fall into depression, and turn to drugs, suicide etc. However, as Deborah Ellis has clearly proven, everybody only has one life, and one should live it to its’ fullest.