Long Legs Boy is the story of an unlikely hero, Modou, a twelve-year-old African boy who is orphaned when his family dies from AIDS. He leaves his remote village in the Sahel, seeks help from an African holy man and becomes a beggar in the city. The street smarts he gains enable him to survive when he is separated from his mentor. Modou befriends a younger orphaned boy, Umaru, and together they cope with the trials of street life: abuse, hunger, police brutality and well-intentioned but inept interventions by social agencies. Modou regularly evades the police and unwittingly becomes a popular folk hero for his cocky attitude and daring escapes. His indomitable spirit ignites political opposition in the country and drives both the police and the army to capture or kill him. In Madison? portrayal of Modou, we discover humour in the midst of despair, compassion in the midst of squalor, and courage in a cruel and uncaring world. Long Legs Boy is an enduring testament to the core values that inspire the human heart.
Trained as an anthropologist, Benjamin Madison lived and worked in West Africa for seventeen years, generally working in Education and Development. He lived for several years as a volunteer teacher in rural communities such as those featured in his remarkable collection of stories, The Moon? Fireflies (2010).