Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another good read

I love a good read, and some of the books I read are just what I call "fluffy fun" books. But I particularly enjoy books that also teach me something, especially about how others in the world live. This past week I read A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. If you are fretting over the turn of events in the stock market, read this book. You will realize how darn good you have it, even if your 401K took a nosedive over the past few weeks... some books just put things in perspective for you.

Here is a copy of a review from Publishers Weekly:

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This absorbing account by a young man who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil war goes beyond even the best journalistic efforts in revealing the life and mind of a child abducted into the horrors of warfare. Beah's harrowing journey transforms him overnight from a child enthralled by American hip-hop music and dance to an internal refugee bereft of family, wandering from village to village in a country grown deeply divided by the indiscriminate atrocities of unruly, sociopathic rebel and army forces. Beah then finds himself in the army—in a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter that lasts until he is 15, when he's brought to a rehabilitation center sponsored by UNICEF and partnering NGOs. The process marks out Beah as a gifted spokesman for the center's work after his "repatriation" to civilian life in the capital, where he lives with his family and a distant uncle. When the war finally engulfs the capital, it sends 17-year-old Beah fleeing again, this time to the U.S., where he now lives. (Beah graduated from Oberlin College in 2004.) Told in clear, accessible language by a young writer with a gifted literary voice, this memoir seems destined to become a classic firsthand account of war and the ongoing plight of child soldiers in conflicts worldwide. (Feb.)
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I cannot even fathom what it must be like to live in a country torn apart by civil war. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be separated from my children. I cannot even understand the horror of watching people die, running for my life, hiding from rebels, etc. It makes me so sad for every mother who has endured this kind of awful tragedy. It makes me cry for those children who wander around terrified and lost from their parents and families.

For me, reading a book like this one leads me to be so grateful for the peace we have here in the US. It also renders most of what I deem to be "tragic" as really ... not so bad after all. If you read it (or have read it), tell me what you think.

I was so interested in learning about the civil wars in Africa that I have moved on to the book What Is the What by Dave Eggers. This is a novel, but it is based on the real-life story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. I'm only part way through this one, but so far, I'd recommend it too.


Chris Ann Schultz said...

Sad to see what those around the world have gone through. We just came home from a meal for WORM PROJECT, Mennonite Conference Center. (MENNONITE Church support agency), sponsored the dinner and it helps children around the world who have worms for 5 cents, will help one child for a short time, to "deworm them". Chantel ate with us tonight. No meat and no dessert-jello. She predicted there would be rice. We also, had beans and flat bread, a cabbage salad, chips and salsa. No meat, other than the rice/bean, which make a whole protein. Chantel enjoyed the experience and even sipped Hot Mint Tea with us! She's the one who also wonders what language she will speak when she grows up. She sees the world in such a unique and wonderful way!

ErinOrtlund said...

Looks like a good recommendation, Amy! Sobering. What is the What is eye-opening too.