The Heaven Shop
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|Publisher||Fitzhenry and Whiteside|
|Media type||Print (Paperback)|
The Heaven Shop is a novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis. The story is set in Malawi and deals with HIV/AIDS orphans. The novel was written to dispel myths about HIV/AIDS and celebrate the courage of child sufferers in Malawi. It was published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside in 2004.
The plot of "The Heaven Shop" centers around 13-year-old Binti, a girl from Malawi. Binti's mother had died from AIDS about 6 years ago. Binti's father owns a coffin shop called The Heaven Shop. Binti is a star on a radio show called "Gogo's Family" and helps support the family with the money she earns through her work on the show.
Binti's father, Bambo, infected with AIDS, contracts pneumonia due to his suppressed auto-immune system and dies. Binti and her siblings are placed in the care of her less wealthy relatives, who take all of their belongings and force them to move to their homes. They are treated poorly. Binti steals money which her relatives stole off her and decides to run away from her less wealthy relatives. She catches a bus to her grandmother, Gogo. When she arrives at the bus stop she is lost so she decides to go to a church and asks a priest to ask if anyone knows who or where her grandma is. The priest then asks the audience and a man named Jeremiah says he knows her he then dropps her off. She is disappointed to find that her grandmother sleeps outside, with over 20 other children. At her grandmother's place, she has to help work with a mother who is the same age as her, named Memory. She finds out Memory is HIV positive and so is her daughter. She decides to try to make a coffin when a man spots her. He asks her to build him a coffin and in return he helps her fix her roof. After, they restart Binti's father's coffin business and earn money for lumber, tools and food. They name it after Bambo's shop. They continue to make coffins. When Binti's grandmother dies, they have to build her a coffin.