Monday, February 15, 2010

Uwem Akpan - Say You're One of Them

My Book Club Selection for February 2010

About the BOOK :
Each story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.

A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family’s struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle’s attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today’s Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.

Uwem Akpan's debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

My Views :
There are 4 amazing stories in this book. And each story left me in tears. I felt the pain and suffering of these children. It is so real. Its as if the characters are alive and you feel them right in front of you. You want to help them but how? I cried after reading this book. From the first page till the very last page. I feel blessed that I'm in a safe place and that I never had to endure this pain. But what about the children in this book? It made me wonder, if the characters were real, then where are they today? How are they? Are they still alive? These questions have been haunting me for days. Is Maisha still a prostitute? Or has she found her freedom? Are Hadiya and Selam still friends till this very day? Would it have a different effect if the narrator was an adult? I mean, these stories were written from a child's point of view. Some questions left unanswered...

But this book is a MUST read for all booklovers. Its also Oprah's Book Club Selection of 2009 and also one of NY's Best Sellers. Its on sale at MPH Bookstores for RM59.90 only.

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