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God Grew Tired of Us: A Memoir

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4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,322 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
"Lost Boy" John Bul Dau’s harrowing experience surviving the brutal horrors of Sudanese civil war and his adjustment to life in modern America is chronicled in this inspiring memoir and featured in an award-winning documentary film of the same name. Movingly written, the book traces Dau’s journey through hunger, exhaustion, terror, and violence as he fled his homeland, dod ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by National Geographic (first published January 16th 2007)
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Daniel
Feb 15, 2013 Daniel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I have some really mixed opinions here. Take a quick look at the general tone of ratings and reviews on this book, and you will arrive at the unmistakable conclusion that this is a profoundly moving book. I agree wholeheartedly. The story of the Lost Boys of Sudan is powerful and tragic, and this first-person retelling of those events carries a moral weight that can't easily be denied. What fuels my mixed response is the close-mindedness that occupies the latter parts of the book.

The first half
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Julie
Mar 18, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-auto-bio
This is the amazing journey of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. He, along with tens of thousands of other children (mostly boys) was dispossessed during the civil war of the mid-1980s and became a "wanderer in the desert" for the better part of 15 years -- hungry, thirsty, often fearing for his life, living each day as if it would be his last. I cannot imagine being able to survive such a life -- let alone survive it with integrity and joy. It's the "joy" of it that truly has me ...more
Camille
Having been friends with a 'Lost Boy' who didn't talk about his past, I enjoyed reading John's memoir because it gave me a feel for the similar events which brought my friend to Utah.

I also liked his perspective on the USA as a whole. So many of us take our freedom for granted and fail to accept responsibility for our success or lack there of. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in what is wrong and forget how many great people live here who freely give of their time, talents, and money to he
...more
Caitlin M
Feb 10, 2014 Caitlin M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: form1-shelf
After reading God Grew tired of Us by John Bul Dau, the reader comes to understand that great help can come from the most foreign of places and that a difficult childhood does not mean that a person won't succeed in life. This book was a memoir of John Bul Dau's life as a lost boy. There were not any other major characters, just a few friends he made on his journeys. He was a part of the Dinka tribe in Sudan, and when the Djellabas attacked his village in 1987, he was forced to flee from his hom ...more
Eliza
Apr 09, 2013 Eliza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

In God Grew Tired of us by John Bul Dau John wants to reconnect with his family after leaving Africa because of the wars but, it is too dangerous to turn back so, he waits until he is in the United States and has the resources to connect with his family. One way this book was very different than most was the action or the cause took place at the beginning and the rest of the book was effects. the weakness of this book was it was never interesting enough I didn't want to put it down, or at least
...more
Roni
Feb 24, 2008 Roni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Roni by: Maureen Keene (my boss)
This is an amazing story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. It is amazing that things like this are still happening. It was an eye opener for me. There is a large population of Sudanese refugees in the Denver area. A family was recently baptized into my ward that fled the Sudan and Egypt. I was the mother's visiting teacher and the girls I got to know in Young Women's. I never really talked about the pain that they had to go through to get to America, but I was glad that I was aware of what they ...more
Kristine Rier
Jun 21, 2015 Kristine Rier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are so many wonderful stories and lessons to be extracted and appreciated from this memoir. The story of the tribes from the south of Sudan (now Southern Sudan), their customs, people, and political oppression; a beautiful account of the spirit and power of America's immigrants; and, an appraisal of what can be done to improve our world.

I'm very happy this book was chosen as my school's community-read and look forward to infusing the author's messages in my classroom. Especially excited t
...more
Lydia
Apr 11, 2008 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book. I had no idea the recent history of Sudan. So it was enlightening plus I was amazed at the John's attitude and abilities throughout. This is his autobiography of that time of his life. I am glad I bought this one as it is one I will love having on my bookshelf.
Jill
Feb 18, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story. I had the privilege of meeting him and hearing him speak- what a great spirit. Some books deserve to be read not because the authors are great writers but because the story is worth knowing. This is one of those.
Winter Sophia Rose
Heartbreaking, Life Changing, Inspiring, Uplifting, Fascinating, Touching Eye Opener! An Outstanding, Powerful Read! I Loved It!
Narasimhan
Jun 05, 2007 Narasimhan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
Very interesting and thought provoking.
Its a kind of biography of John.
John is from Sudan.In his childhood at his 11th year or so,his village was bombed by Muslim militants and he ran for his life.Its all about his journey to save his life till he reached America as a refugee and established his living hood.

The story would move our heart..It just shows of the contrast..When he ran for the life,he was around 11yrs..1981..ethnic warfare started spreading Sudan completely.His village was bombed and
...more
Dan
Mar 30, 2015 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Bul Dau, a Lost Boy, has an amazing if traumatic story to tell in God Grew Tired of Us. It is also, sadly, not a unique story. We read of John's war-torn Sudanese history and how he escaped multiple times from extremist militias, found temporary safe-havens, exercised leadership, and finally acquired sanctuary in the USA. Thanks to the help of the brilliant author and journalist Mike Sweeney, I have been reminded once again about how incredibly fortunate I am to have been born into my own s ...more
Lu
May 31, 2015 Lu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story will break your heart and inspire you. It's unbelievable what these lost boys of Sudan go through....and the capacity for destruction and expression of love and compassion humans are capable of. I walked away from reading John's story with a resolve to think differently about my own strengths and inspired by John's forward way of thinking. His will and strength of family and culture are what I believe pulled him through his unvbelievable trauma. It is a testimony to the human spirit a ...more
Joanne
Jun 20, 2014 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellently written autobiography of John Bul Dau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. His experiences as a refugee, his struggles in America, and his eventual triumphs make for an riveting story. I have used this book, and the Movie based on this book in my classroom as part of a unit on the Lost Boys. My students are riveted and really develop a desire to take action and to try and help other refugees after learning about John Bul Dau and the other Lost Boys.
Rachel
Feb 04, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan- heartbreaking and inspirational- John Bul Dau's story has impacted me in many ways. I appreciated the opinion of the US from an outsider, and how different our culture is from how he grew up. I think everyone should read this book.
Tiffany
Jul 10, 2008 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent read about the lost boys of Sudan. I was skeptical at first, but really enjoyed the story as well as learning about another culture. I learned that hard things are still happening all over the world today, even though most of the time I am oblivious to a lot of it.
Tom Carrico
Feb 09, 2010 Tom Carrico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir





God Grew Tired of Us
By John Bul Dau with Michael S. Sweeney

(Note: John Bul Dau’s God Grew Tired of Us has been selected by the Lynchburg Public Library for 2010’s “Lynchburg Reads” program. There will be book discussions and other public programs offered this spring and Mr. Dau will speak at Randolph College on April 21 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Dau’s appearance is being funded by The Friends of the Lynchburg Public Library, The Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia and Randolph College.)

“I
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Kathi Olsen
Feb 15, 2017 Kathi Olsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A very good memoir from one of the Lost Boys of southern Sudan. It's amazing to see the survival and progress of someone of 13 who ran naked from his village that was being attacked to becoming a college graduate and doing remarkable things to help people in his new country and developing a medical clinic in his hometown. Amazingly many of his family survived but they didn't know of each other for many years.
Lisa  Shamchuk
An inspiring story of one of Sudan's Lost boys, full of survival, hope, love and grace.
Marcy
Mar 16, 2009 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard about this book from NPR. It is the story of John Bul Dau, a lost boy from Sudan. Interwined is the history of the wars between the north and south of Sudan to provide a comprehensive understanding as to what takes place within the story. Also included are the quotes from the "friends" of John Bul Dau, both Duk Payuel, his childhood home in Sudan, in the surrounding countries where the lost boys stayed for periods of time, and in America, where John Bul Dau presently lives and prospers. ...more
Davis Aujourd'hui
This is an amazing tale of the lost boys of Sudan told by a remarkable survivor of the carnage that swept through his homeland. It is a story of the strength of the human spirit. It is truly inspirational.

As the author of a spiritually-themed novel, I am always on the outlook for books that provide food for my soul. This one certainly did it for me! It is an amazing journey of a thirteen year-old boy who loses his family when he has to escape from the ravages of civil war. Following that he ends
...more
Nicole Waugh
Nov 27, 2013 Nicole Waugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
God Grew Tired Of Us is a beautifully written memoir of John Bul Dau's journey as a Lost Boy of Sudan. It opened my eyes to how bad some others have it in life and makes me thankful for what I have. I have my family. I can’t imagine how these boys felt then or feel now. This memoir is emotional at some times. It gives you the first hand perspective of what it was like.
It starts off with John and his family living in their hut happily in their Dinka tribe. One night they are bombed and John ran
...more
Laurie Garcia
Sep 27, 2011 Laurie Garcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Bul Dau's story of his journey as a Lost Boy and his life in America is a deeply moving, heartwarming and inspirational story. Although he endured many hardships, suffering horrors that I cannot even begin to imagine, he overcame all those obstacles and has done absolutely amazing things with his life. His optimism and outlook on life are so beautiful. His words are very profound. You come away viewing life differently and appreciating the life we have been given that is often taken for gra ...more
Jessica
May 27, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
A moving memoir of a Lost Boy of Sudan who fled his country when his village, Duk Payuel, was attacked. (view spoiler) ...more
Ronda
Apr 25, 2008 Ronda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The autobiography of a young man who at 13 yrs old is caught in the war in southern Sudan and separated from his family finding his way to a series of refugee camps and eventually to the U.S. It is helpful to understand more of what is going on in Sudan. Today in a different region of the country the Darfur region is still in turmoil. I would rate this book a 3 1/2 there are slow moving sections, but I enjoyed the ending where he had a chance to reflect on his experiences and to begin trying to ...more
4Buehler A
In the book God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau, John has to face the many hardships after his hometown gets attacked and brought into war with Israel. John ended up running away from his home and finds his neighbor, Abraham, and travel east. It was because “East seemed a good direction” (Dau). John had to keep moving away from his home to stay safe. John and Abraham meet some other boys running and as they continue, run into some officers that are trying to kill them. Their thoughts were “wher ...more
Louise
Mar 20, 2009 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Excellent memoir!

From back cover:

"John Bul Dau is a hero, though too modest a man to ever say so himself. When civil war came to his peaceful village, death became his constant companion but never destroyed his belief in the simple strong values of Dinka society. On a life journey spanning thousands of miles from rural Africa to an American university, this born leader has approached each new day as a gift from God and met every challenge with a steadfast spirit that refused to despair. His memo
...more
Andrea
Nov 13, 2010 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My husband asks "Why do you always read those sad stories?" Maybe I do lean a little towards tragedy, but this book, as well as some of my others, I like to classify as survival. I enjoy reading about other peoples lives, especially when they overcome negative circumstances(in this case - horrific) and continue on to create or continue an amazing life. John Bul Dau did exactly that. We have so much to learn from people like John Bul Dau.
As a Lost Boy, after losing his family in an attack on his
...more
Nolan
Jan 13, 2011 Nolan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I did not say so at the time, but I felt one more thing above all others. It was a private thing, so I did not share it. But I felt, very strongly, the grace of God. I can take no credit for it; grace is not something anyone can earn. Rather, grace opened before me like the door, and I walked through it. I knew I had been blessed. How else could anyone explain the impossible odds I had overcome- the dangers, the miles, the despair. God had not forgotten me after all."- John Bul Dau "The lost bo ...more
Rock Angel
this review pertain to the movie (documentary) by the same name.

The movie got a 4.5 star rating. If I go along with that, then the book "What's the What" (another Sudanese autobio) should get about 40 stars.

To be fair, "God" focused on the Sudanese boys' American life, spending only about 10-15 min on their Sudanese history, whereas "What" spent >3/4 on Valentino Achak Deng's Sudanese days; and that the latter book is almost twice as long as the first.

Still, for a documentary, "God" advocate
...more
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John Dau is a survivor of a 14-year journey from his home village in Duk County, Sudan in 1987 to his arrival in Syracuse, New York in 2001. As a young boy he fled Sudanese government troops and eventually arrived at the Kukuma refugee camp in Kenya in 1992. During this journey of more than 1,000 miles, he led thousands of younger children through violence and starvation. Selected to come to Syrac ...more
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“Times slows when your life is in danger. Every second takes a minute to pass, and even the smallest event gets chiseled into memory. (95)” 5 likes
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