This book is very well written and very hard to read because the content is so heartrending. In a series of stories, children of Africa recount events in their tragic lives. It is an important book for helping us to understand how conflict tears away the fabric of human existence.
I didn't realize this book was a work of fiction. I think in many ways, it isn't. The problem with Left to Tell or Long Way Gone, the people tell their true stories in a less emotional way. Although the stories are sad, they seem to separate themselves from it and focus on the present. I appreciate that. But in this book, Akpan doesn't take away the emotion from the events. He tells the stories through fictious characters, but I would guess many details are unfortunately true. The police corruption, the religious and ethnic cleansing, and most painful for me, the genocide in Rwanda. The last story in this book covers Rwanda's battle between the Hutus and Tutsis. It left me feeling...different..sad, enraged, ill. It touched me more than Left to Tell could, because in this case, we don't get to see the happier ending or the hope. Instead we see the pain that families went through during the beginning of this crisis. Not all the stories are as painful. Also, be aware that Pidgin English is used in this book.
Five stories (all written in the eyes of children) that are heartbreaking, not only because of the story lines but also because they are based on fact. These children are living in terrible circumstances, yet Akpan reminds us that they bounce back quickly to try to survive. Some of the dialog takes some getting used to, but once you figure it out, everything flows smoothly. As the author mentions, many Americans know little about life elsewhere and seemingly, don't want to know. Read these heartwrenching stories, and you will know a little more about life elsewhere, specifically in Africa. Although depressing, these stories are well-written and impressive... I am in awe.
This book gave me an insight into the problems facing the people of Africa. The language made it hard to understand, though I understand that it was necessary to tell the stories as realistically as possible. A rather depressing book and some of the stories seemed incomplete.
This book was hard to read. The heartbreaking stories, and the knowing that this really does go on is almost too much to take. It is a great book, just not a happy book at all. I do recommend it for anyone that can handle the sadness.