Thursday, January 21, 2010

Say You're One of Them

Author: Uwem Akpan

First line: Now that my oldest sister, Maisha, was twelve, none of us knew how to relate to her anymore.

Why you should read this book: Poverty, child slavery, ethnic violence, and sudden death frame the lives of African children in five powerful stories of varying lengths. The heroes and heroines of these tales share the determination to live in a world where mothers offer glue-sniffing in place of the food they cannot afford, uncles are compelled to sell their nieces and nephews to improve their lot in the world, and relatives turn against one another in bloody displays of faith or racial unity. Although heartbreaking, this book opens several windows across the continent, exposing the plight of those who suffer the most from social disparity and the ills of poverty and sectarian violence.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: Physical and sexual violence, real-life horror, untimely death, no happy endings.

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