In 1958 at the age of fourteen, Celia de Verteuil left her French Creole family and home in Trinidad. Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Celia was destined for the United Kingdom, to receive treatment and care for her illness.
Celia lived the rest of her life in the UK and never saw Trinidad again.
Following Celia’s death in 2013, her sister Claudia – who, after coming to live in the UK herself, became Celia’s confidante and companion – has undertaken to document Celia’s life, with help from correspondence between Celia and other family members. Also to understand Celia’s situation, her illness, and the system which Celia entered at the age of fourteen and in which she lived the rest of her life.
Paradise Plums and Cocoa Beans is an honest and moving account of a young woman’s separation from her family and the place she called home – and the effect of this not only on her but on those who loved her. It tackles a very difficult subject which is still often undervalued and misunderstood.