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Immaculee Ilibagiza
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Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

4.43 of 5 stars 4.43  ·  rating details  ·  26,949 ratings  ·  4,263 reviews
Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished. But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide. Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.

Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter. For 9
Published (first published January 1st 2006)
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Angelika It depends on the student. Skill-wise, the book is probably appropriate; however, content-wise, I would only recommend this book to mature readers and…moreIt depends on the student. Skill-wise, the book is probably appropriate; however, content-wise, I would only recommend this book to mature readers and not an entire 9th grade class. There are very mature themes that deal with graphic violence (rape, cold-blooded murder, brutality, ethnic discrimination). The book also focuses largely on faith, which can be a very challenging subject for many young readers, let alone adult readers. I use this book in a college-level basic reading/writing course, and many of my students often struggle with these themes (and they're mostly aged 20+). (less)
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Entering this book, I was expecting personal account of the Rwandan holocaust, despite the foreword stating otherwise. In some ways, my expectations were met, in some others, I was surprised. More than just a chronicling of atrocities, Imaculee Ilibagiza's tale is also a testament to inner fortitude, faith, and the power to forgive.

As an agnostic (though my views on spirituality are constantly in flux) I expected that her story would come off as a bit hokey, with too much Jesus-speak for me. Ag
Oct 18, 2012 Gilbert rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE LIVING!
Recommended to Gilbert by: Arlene Amorino
Shelves: spiritual, cursillo
"What was that all about, Immaculée? That was the man who murdered your family. I brought him to you to spit on if you wanted to. But you forgave him! How could you do that? Why did you forgive him?"

I answered him with the truth: "Forgiveness is all I have to offer."

pg. 204


THAT line is the goal....but how the heck did this woman get to that point is why you NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!

Guilt and anger are forces destroying our cultures, our churches, and ourselves most
I'm not giving this five stars because I think it is a great piece of literature or that it in any ways matches up with the great books of the world. The five stars are more for how powerful and raw the book felt and how much it physically effected me. To me this is the job of a really great survivor testimony. They don't have to be perfectly written or come with accompanying historical footnotes, etc. There were times as I was reading this book that I had a physical reaction to her story. She t ...more
I couldn't put this book down from the moment I started it. Stayed up late at night reading it. I paid for it the next day at work; I was so tired, but it was worth it.

I finished it in two days because the author's story is so compelling. And it's not just what she suffered or lost, because many people endured greater tragedies and were left without anyone. What made Immaculeé's story stand out was that she focused on her spiritual development throughout the crisis. We see how she was raised as
Books Ring Mah Bell
Faith can be defined as:
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.

How Immaculee Ilibagiza's faith was not shattered and completely destroyed after her ordeal in the Rwandan holocaust is astonishing. Tribal tensions between the Hutus and the Tutsis escalate and the Hutus set about
All those who harassed Eliece about this book, need to buck up and read it. This is a story that everyone should know. This is a story of great faith. Even though it deals with what happened in Rwanda (which we should all understand) it is the story of a young woman who found God in a bathroom and how he rescues her again and again even through some very difficult situations. My favorite quote from the book happens when there are killers outside the place she is hiding, calling her name and she ...more
To give this book fewer than five stars would be a statement that it was somehow incomplete or flawed. How could I find fault with something so heartfelt and genuine? This is a book I will not read again. This is a book I did not ENJOY reading, but it is a book that is worth reading. It is a book that uplifts, even while it subdues.

Would I recommend this book to my friends? Only certain of them. If you like to read books that entertain and put your brain on cruise control, this isn't the book fo
Matt Evans
Shocking and inspiring. Ms. Ilibagiza tells the story of what happened to her during the Rwandan Holocaust. The narrative's glut of horrific violence made me sick at heart, but Ilibagiza's faith and personal strength pulled me through.

These people are just like you and me: human, educated, desiring of a happy life, and it's stunning to see how quickly so much of this can go down the tubes when mob mentality, based on racial prejudice, sets in. And lest my dear review reader thinks that such thin
Clif Hostetler
It's sadly ironic that some people see proof that there is no God when they consider the evil manifest in the Rwandan holocaust. This author lived through that holocaust, her family were victims, and she says she discovered God amidst it. The style of this book is that of a religious faith journey. Considering the unbelievably horrible things she experienced, I can't suggest a better approach to the subject.

The terrible things that happened are beyond belief! I suppose it makes little sense to
Eye-opening. I didn't want to put it down. Most of all, humbling. I am ashamed at what horrendous things we, as human beings do to each other and also, what we ALLOW to happen. It broke my heart to read of all those refugees hoping and praying for help from someone--anyone, and no one stepped up to help. They were left to fend for themselves. I am ashamed at my own whining and complaining about nothing. I have everything! I am so very blessed.

I was inspired by Immaculee's ability to visualize w
Nov 28, 2009 Jessika rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Jessika by: My aunt :)
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, own
This is definitely the most powerful book that I have ever read. Reading this book brought me to tears so many times, and it truly takes a phenomenal woman to go through what she did and then forgive the perpetrators after all was said and done. I believe that this is a book that everyone needs to read at some point in his life. Not only will reading this book make you realize how much you may take for granted in your life, but it also shows you that if she can find forgiveness through God, so c ...more
Amazing survival story! Through her ordeal, she was isolated with 7 other women for 3 months in a tiny bathroom. She turned to prayer and meditation as she had no idea how long this ordeal would last. Through this horror, she became closer to God. She listened to inspiration from God and it saved her life and the lives of those with her.

It was a great reminder that money and power can influence people to do evil. Slowly, people can be influenced to believe things that are not true or act inhuma
From the first page, there’s something phony about this book, but it’s hard to pin down. I have no doubt that Immaculee lost her entire family, and I’m very sorry for what happened to her and her people. I believe the basic facts of the story, because I remember news accounts of the time, but some of Immaculee’s details sound fake. Eight women hiding in a bathroom three feet by four feet, (with a toilet taking up some of the room,) and the minister throws in a mattress for them? At one point in ...more
This book broke my heart over and over all the while strengthening my spirit. I learned that no matter what your situation you can put your trust in God's hands. Often times I feel like my own needs are trivial in comparison to what others may be dealing with and that I don't have a right to burden Heavenly Father with my miniscule problems and questions. But we all need direction, no matter what your circumstance and we all need support.
This book was wonderful. I marveled at her amazing faith
Reading this book is a pretty sobering experience. Author Immaculée Ilibagiza is a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan Holocaust, during which approximately 1,000,000 people were killed over the span of 100 days. This book is to the Rwandan Holocaust what The Diary of a Young Girl is to the Jewish Holocaust. Like Anne Frank, Ilibagiza is not writing about the history, politics, or culture of her country, or of the genocide, but rather how it affected her (although Ilibagiza's recount is obviously more ...more
I've had this book sitting on my nightstand for several weeks, after checking it out from the library thanks to many recommendations from friends and acquaintances. I'm so glad I finally made the time to read it. It really is a page turner and doesn't take long to get through it. Once you begin you can't put it down, in part because you want the suffering to end.

Left to Tell is the true and horribly detailed account of a tremendous evil that left over one million dead--most of them chopped to de
Sep 15, 2008 Kendra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I have to be honest, I don't really want to read this book because it hurts my heart too much. I heard Immaculee speak at a banquet. I was captivated by her story (while I sobbed), and found myself marveling at how vastly different our life can be, even in our modern world. I recommend this book to everyone (even though I have not read it), because it is an unbeleiveable story. From what I have been told it is mildly graphic and horrific as she describes the massacre of her own family and the at ...more
Amy J
This book is much like "The Hiding Place" in its focus on forgiveness and God's love and support through such great trials. It is very difficult to get through, with details of the violence and horror that were a part of this genocide. Very disturbing. Most distressing to me though, was how much about this event I didn't know. It's hard to imagine that we live in a world where things like this happen, and we don't tune in or send help. I think of W. H. Auden's poem, "Musee des Beaux Arts," and I ...more
Aug 01, 2008 Annette rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annette by: Misty Gunsay
It's a pleasant relief from most information about the Rwandan holocaust, as she doesn't hold bitterness, anger or revenge in her narration. It's the journey of surrendering to God and having faith, not a chronicle of the genocide (outside of her own experience). If you wish for complete accounts, facts or a political understanding of the event this is not the book to read. But if you wish to understand how such atrocities are lived through and spiritually dealt with successfully, this is a defi ...more
Incredible account of how this woman was sustained (and blessed) through prayer during the atrocities of ethnic cleansing and civil war while hiding in a crowded small bathroom with very little to eat.

Here is a thought from Elder Holland (fireside address, "Lessons from Liberty Jail", September 2008) that I thought went along well with the overall message of the book...

"...when you have to, you can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in any situation you are
I haven't read much about the Rwandan genocide because it still feels so close. It hurts me too deeply to realize that this happened in my conscious lifetime. But a close friend of mine said she kept thinking I should read this book and then lent it to me.

Well, I read it. And here is my review. I'll address it in two parts: The Story and The Writing.

The Story: It is terrifying to see an entire country collapse into rampant mob-murder. I can't really take it in entirely. It's too much to think th
I think this is the most heartwrenching book I have ever read. I was emotionally exhausted when I finished reading it! I usually stay away from books like this because I just can't handle the violence, and I as I read it, I was reminded why I don't read stuff like this! I will forever have in my mind those images of what the Hutus did to the Tutsi people. I know that the author could have described things much more explicitly, and I'm grateful she didn't. It is unbelieveable to me that this happ ...more
Those of you who know me, don't fret by the title: my MIL lent this to me, and the while the topic is compelling (a woman surviving the majority of the Tutsi massacre in a cramped bathroom with something like seven other women), the writing (or ghost writing) was flat, and I don't know if the "Discovering God" is terribly accurate--more like, maintaining, as Ilibagiza was a believer when she went into hiding. Despite this, the story of survival and the horrors of this time are what drew me into ...more
True story of this amazing woman's miraculous survival during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. I don't give this book 5 stars for the writing, or because it ranks up there with the world's greatest literature..I give it 5 stars because it is a true account of faith and forgiveness that I found incredibly moving and inspirational. It is one of those books that I think should be required reading. You won't "enjoy" it but you will learn, and you will share in the responsibility we all feel towards tho ...more
Erica Thompson
How is it possible that I knew next to nothing about the Rwandan war and genocide? Granted I was in high school when it happened, so I was probably oblivious, but shouldn't we have been discussing it as a current event? I am still wondering how 1 million people could be killed like this in my lifetime and no one stopped it sooner.

This book is the memoir of Immaculee Ilibagiza's survival of the holocaust. She was able to hide and spent the 3 months in almost constant prayer. She credited her surv
An inspirational, true story of how a group of women survived the Rwandan holocaust while hidden inside an incredibly small space. Yet the setting was actually in the even smaller space of Immaculee's mind. On the other hand, the story is as expansive as her soul, which (again, incredibly) was large enough to let in enough love and understanding to heal from all the pain she'd experienced.

This story is amazing and I have reflected upon it many times over the past few years since I read it. It i
Jennifer Locke
I can't talk about this book without telling a story. I first read it six years ago, upon recommendation from my sister, Jess, who was going to Rwanda to teach for a year. It utterly wrecked me. I read the last page and then tried to describe the story to my husband, Ryan. I couldn't. I broke down sobbing and hugged him, saying over and over again: "I just want to meet her! I just want to meet her and give her a hug!"

Flash forward about nine months or so. Ryan and I were going to Rwanda to visi
The story was inspiring, and gut wrenching on what was being done to her. However after the first part (there are three in total), it becomes less of a survivor's tale, and more of a religious text. I have no problems that are religious, but in this case, when she throws away all common sense and rationality (the devil whisper's in her ear trying to obliterate her faith, her husband is sent by God due to her descriptions etc.), is a bit too over the top for me.

I found her story sad, and her abil
Plain an simple - She told the story the only way she could. For a reader like me, I was already vested in the political atrocities of Africa and I wanted the book to explore this further. How did Rowanda get into this situation? Why does colonialism break people down into various classes by education, skin tone, etc..?

Also, the blatant commercialization of the story. I enjoy a little Wayne Dyer from time to time, but holy crapshoot batman, they hijacked this story. Her faith had to be strong an
Dec 01, 2007 Amber rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: autobiography
Left to Tell is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. In style it reminded me of Life and Death in Shanghai which was a Chinese woman's memoir of the Revolution in China. Like that book, Left to Tell displays the atrocities of the Rwandan Genocide of the mid to late 1990's without any hate or darkness. It's rare to find a book or movie depicting this kind of pain without the presence of anger or blame.

The author, Immaculée Ilibagizaa, is a Tutsi Rwandan who hides in the bathroom of
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Today Immaculée is regarded as one of world's leading speakers on peace, faith, and forgiveness. She has shared her universal message with world dignitaries, school children, multinational corporations, churches, and at many conferences. Immaculée works hard to spread her message and to raise money for her Left to Tell Charitable Fund which directly benefits the children orphaned by the genocide.

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“The love of a single heart can make a world of difference.” 48 likes
“I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger--to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn't wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.” 31 likes
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