What is the What by Dave Eggers
This memoir of a young boy’s escape from war torn Sudan to a refuge camp in Kenya and eventually to America, is classified as fiction because he was too young to remember accurately all that happened when his village was razed and he lost friends and family. The tale of Valentino Achak Deng is a true story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is told in a matter-of fact manner yet holds the readers full attention.
I was impressed with Achak’s positive attitude in the faceof such suffering. He retains his faith in God in spite of all the bad things that do happen even after he reaches the “safety” if America. I would recommend this book.
The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg
I picked this up at the airport for an easy read. It is entertaining as we’d expect of Flagg.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Annie recommended this book, and so, though I seldom read novels, I settled in and took it to bed with me on several consecutive nights. It was a good companion! Set in a Small German town during the 1930s and 1940s, the story of foster child taken in by a kind-hearted middle-aged couple, this is the story of a young girl coming of age, learning to love books, art and people, only to see the uglier side of life unfold around her too.
Yet something lovely remains in my mind after reading it… something beautiful in the human spirit that cannot be vanquished be tyrants and bombs. A very good read.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I reread this best of Amy Tan’s novels after finding it on the dollar cart at a used bookstore. It is so telling about how many women lead their lives, often trying to compensate for some imagined insufficiency. I suppose I identify with this mother-daughter saga as I also live between two cultures that have such different values. Values that we tryt o measure ourselves against or live up to. A truly great book!
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Finally I found this memoir of young sisters forced to put their education on hold and be shut up in the family home when the Taliban takes control of their area of Afghanistan. Kalima Sidiqi has to step up and find a way to support her family in a society where women are not allowed to work or to even leave the house without a younger brother or close male relative as a chaperon.
Not only does she learn to sew, to negotiate prices and carry on a business, but she is able to teach and employ many other girls, providing desperately-needed income for many families. A brave and true story.