Thursday, December 21, 2017

From the I Shelf...

There's slim pickings on the I shelf at my library, especially if you're not interested in reading a book by Greg Iles or John Irving. Which I'm kind of not. So when I spotted a thin volume on the bottom shelf, the very last book before the names switched from I to J, I knew I'd found my book.


Title:  Beasts of No Nation
Author:  Uzodinma Iweala

This is the story of a young West African boy named Agu who is forced to become a soldier when his country is torn apart by war. It's a heartbreaking and powerful account of a child soldier who once loved going to school and reading the Bible and who now must kill...and kill again. I couldn't put it down. Here's a taste of this unforgettable novel:
"So we were playing all this game then and thinking that to be a soldier was to be the best thing in the world because gun is looking so powerful and the men in movie are looking so powerful and strong when they are killing people, but I am knowing now that to be a soldier is only to be weak and not strong, and to have no food to eat and not to eat whatever you want, and also to have people making you do thing that you are not wanting to do and not to be doing whatever you are wanting which is what they are doing in movie. But I m only knowing this now because I am soldier now."
"All we are knowing is that, before the war we are children and now we are not."
"Time is passing. Time is not passing. Day is changing to night. Night is changing to day. How can I know what is happening? It is like one day everything is somehow okay even if we are fighting war, but the next day we are killing killing and looting from everybody. How can I know what is happening to me? How  can I know?" 
This is a tough read:  haunting and sad and mesmerizing all at the same time. Iweala does a masterful job of portraying the brutality of war along with the hopes and fears, enthusiasm, confusion, horror  and guilt of those who fight in it. And all I can say is, "Wow." I'm glad I found this one on the I shelf.

Happy Reading!

14 comments:

  1. Great review, Lark! I agree this is a tough read with the subject and what happened to Agu but yet it is also a powerful story about the brutality of war and how it affected the people, especially the children. :/

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    1. It is a very powerful story...and one I think more people in the world should be aware of. :)

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  2. This does sound like a difficult read. Sometimes the news makes us a little callous, but a novel might truly illuminate a situation by using one voice that people can identify with.

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  3. Super lucky find. “I” names can be hard. I’m glad you found one you could enjoy. It does sound like a tough read though.

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    1. If it had been a really long book I probably wouldn't have made it through, but it's fairly short and reads pretty quick. And I was rooting for the young boy in it to survive.

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  4. What a great way to find undiscovered gems! This does sound like it was a very powerful read.

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    1. That's what I love about allowing for bookish serendipity at the library...you never know what you'll find. :)

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  5. Wow! What a powerful story! That's so awesome you discovered it at your library - talk about meant to read. Great post!

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    1. Don't you just love bookish serendipity? :)

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  6. I haven't read this one but I have read other true stories of child soldiers and they are shocking reads. I used to read a lot of this kind of thing years back.

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  7. I had to read about your Reading the Alphabet project - that's so cool. This is a story I've been meaning to read but oh the subject matter sounds harrowing. One of those books I have to prepare myself for! Good job on finding an "I" from the library shelf!

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    1. Thanks! I've had a lot of fun reading my way through the library alphabetically. :)

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