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A Girl Made of Dust
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A Girl Made of Dust

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  402 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Eight-year-old Ruba lives in a village outside Beirut. From her family home, she can see the buildings shimmering on the horizon and the sea stretched out beside them. She can also hear the rumble of the shelling - this is Lebanon in the 1980s and civil war is tearing the country apart.
Paperback, 236 pages
Published 2009 by HarperPerennial (first published December 1st 2008)
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Kinga
Apr 16, 2011 Kinga rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Khaya
The problems with child narrators is that they need to be authentic, because the reader wants to believe the story is told by an eight year old but at the same time the reader doesn't want to feel that the book was actually written by an eight year old. Here lies the catch-22, the book needs to be told by an eight year old but written by an adult.

Many authors resort to writing simple sentences and just dumbing down everything but that's not the way, of course. Nathalie Abi-Ezzi didn't fall into
...more
Lisa
Mar 18, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great surprise pick. I picked it up from the Skokie Library paperback book sale shelf to take on our trip to Florida. Since I am pretty low-tech, this is how I get my travel reading material. Sometimes I end up reading things I'd never read otherwise and sometimes I read gems. This is one of them.

I had never heard of Nathalie Abi-Ezzi, but now that I've read "A Girl Made of Dust," I will look for her other books. The backdrop of the book is Lebanon in the early 1980's during the
...more
Meaghan
This is a beautifully written novel that is, I think, suitable for both children and adults. The author is able to show the horrors of war without compromising the authenticity of the child's narrative voice -- and that's a very delicate balancing act. She was also able to let the reader know what was going on without being overly didactic -- I know NOTHING about Israel's invasion of Lebanon, but I could get just enough from this book to be able to understand the story, and it made me curious to ...more
Hermien
Jan 23, 2017 Hermien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
It took a while to get into the story but it ended up being quite moving and an interesting insight into the war in Lebanon in the early eighties.
Jeremy
May 03, 2009 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathalie writes as an 8 year old living her live in a town near Beruit. She sees the war and the terror as an 8 year old would not understanding why her friends are having to leave or why her people turn against another. And ponders on the strange way her father behaves -the family know, but won't tell her. She sees her older brother slowly getting sucked into the dark world that surrounds them. The book ends as the shelling gets nearer and nearer to their home and they all huddle together in fe ...more
Ronni
Sep 27, 2009 Ronni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
some people are calling this book "a coming of age story," but i'm calling it a page-turner. the *only* thing that ever took me out of the story was the occasional heavy handed and unrealistic dialogue between the eight year old narrator and her ten year old brother. otherwise, the book is great all around. two unexpected delights in this book, entwined but distinct, are the narrator's imagination and the author's descriptions of the surrounding geography and flora & fauna.

while set in a chr
...more
Tabark Altaie
My favorite thing about this book is that it is narrated through first person "8 year old Ruba".
It was interesting to me because it is through her narration that you get to see all the small details that only a child would notice.
I found the main conflict isn't of much importance, in other words "not a real big problem" YET you will find yourself obliged to sympathize with her and consequently driven to finish the story to know the resolution.
Katie Lynn
Oct 05, 2009 Katie Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracie Sampson
Feb 25, 2017 Tracie Sampson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book needed to be read. It changed a lot of my thinking.
Lisa
May 14, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, lebanon, 2016tbr
A Girl Made of Dust is a semi-autobiographical novel by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi who, like some of the characters in her story, moved to the safety of England in 1983 when Israel invaded Lebanon. She has written the novel from the perspective of an eight-year-old, but overcame my resistance to child narrators with a vivid story. This point-of-view enables the portrayal of the baffled dismay that many of us naïvely feel about religious hatreds, and, sadly, it also shows us how children adapt to living i ...more
Yasmine
first of all :the name of the book is really appealing :) loved the name
while reading the first chapters i wasnot quite interested in the book but when i kept reading i really enjoyed the book i loved the details that ruba mentioned details so precise that i felt through the whole novel i was there i smelled what ruba smelled i touched and felt the textures of what what she touched ...those details made the novel vivid and captivating
I loved the characters
ruba :her curiosity and her constant
...more
Rita
Dec 09, 2011 Rita marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Kinga:

civil war in Lebanon

The problems with child narrators is that they need to be authentic, because the reader wants to believe the story is told by an eight year old but at the same time the reader doesn't want to feel that the book was actually written by an eight year old. Here lies the catch-22, the book needs to be told by an eight year old but written by an adult.

Many authors resort to writing simple sentences and just dumbing down everything but that's not the way, of course. Nathalie
...more
Nick
May 26, 2011 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A Girl Made of Dust" starts with a deceptively slow pace. After all, it is narrated by the eight year old girl Ruba. Its power accumulates deliberately and relentlessly. The novel takes place during the early eighties outside Beirut. The slow beginning colors in the portrait of a family already in crisis over the nervous breakdown of the father whose shop feeds it. Rufa's family is Christian but not biased against Muslims; one of Ruba's friends in a Muslim boy. As the violence intensifies, the ...more
Nancy
Ruba, an eight-year-old Lebanese Maronite Christian girl is of an age where she is becoming more aware of family tensions, as well as being concerned with real and imaginary childhood issues such as the taunting of her Muslim friend, Karim at school, and her belief that a neighbor woman is a witch who must have put a curse on her depressed father to cause his nearly immobilized condition.

Her older brother, Naji is spending less and less time playing with her as he falls in with some older boys w
...more
Stephanie
Jul 20, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-books
A fictional story of the Israeli and Palestinian invasions into Lebanon, told from the point of view of an eight-year-old Christian girl, Ruba. The story is told completely from her observations of what is happening to her family and her village. Her father has changed, never works, just sits in his chair. Her uncle has a mysterious job in Beirut. Her friend Karim is Muslim, and why would that matter? Her mother is voicelessly unhappy with the situation. Her grandmother is the rock of the family ...more
Bob Pedley
May 09, 2015 Bob Pedley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little gem, I really loved it.
It's a tale of a child's life in Lebanon during the civil war.
It's well crafted, with several interweaving story lines and very well formed and believable characters. The author has a light touch and it's an easy read. The ending is unexpected and uplifting.

The remarkable aspect of this is the surreal context of life in a war zone, where the sound of gunfire is routine, and pieces of shrapnel & spent bullets become playthings. Death and injury a
...more
Octavia Cade
This is very much a book of two halves. The first half was nicely written, atmospheric in the threat and conflict of burgeoning war, but slow as a wet week. Then at about the halfway point, a plot appeared! Actually giving the characters something to do made such a difference.

Look, I'm all for atmosphere, but a book can't survive on that alone. And when you're padding out the intro to the midway point, you've rambled on for far too long. It should have moved beyond the molasses of minutiae a goo
...more
Colleen
Aug 14, 2009 Colleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This story takes place in Lebanon during the 1982 Israeli invasion where we see the war through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl and are invited into her innocence. It is beautifully told: "[t:]he hot sky had bleached itself white and cicadas hummed back and forth, back and forth, as if they were sawing the trees. Teta had said once that each time they stopped a person had died, but they didn't stop often.." By the end of the book, as the family hudles in their home, their once peaceful Christ ...more
Mandi
Ten-year-old Ruba lives in a village outside Beirut. From her family home, she can see the buildings shimmering on the horizon and the sea stretched out beside them. She can also hear the rumble of the shelling - this is Lebanon in the 1980s and civil war is tearing the country apart.

This is a beautifully written account of life through a child's eyes, from her brother not wanting to play with her any more, to her father who just sits in a chair not participating in life. It is a lovely book and
...more
Sam
May 02, 2013 Sam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glad I picked this one off the shelf to read! The author does an incredible job of taking you on a journey through the eyes and mind of a young girl living outside Beirut during the civil war in Lebanon.

Just like Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago", this story begins with a series of threads that seem jumbled rather than connected, but as the book goes along the threads begin to wend together into a vivid and climatic ending that pulls it all together.

Definitely hoping Ms Abi-Ezzi will write another fic
...more
Carla
Aug 02, 2011 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bittersweet coming of age story told through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl in Lebanon. I read one reviewer who claimed that the narrator was awkward and forced, but I found her believable and engaging. I suspect he (the reviewer) had never been a little girl, so maybe that was his problem. At any rate, the descriptions of war-torn Lebanon (or any country ravaged by war) and the differences of attitude between Christians, Muslims and Jews, even within the family, seemed to come from a perspect ...more
Cathy
Jan 31, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A child narrator is a hard act to pull off, but it works very well here. Beautiful, small book about childhood, war, and family. It's very gentle given what's going on (the Israeli invasion of Lebanon), and Abi-Ezzi's voice is wonderful. It made me think a little of the film The Spirit of the Beehive, another version of a child surrounded by events she doesn't quite understand. And I thought the resolution, which really explored the implications of the title, worked perfectly.

I bought this more
...more
Sarah
Jan 04, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive debut novel. I had some difficulty getting into this, but once I was in Ruba's world I did not want to leave. Abi-Ezzi does an excellent job of revelaing the stories of the other characters in bits and pieces through her young narrator. Ruba's relationships with the other characters reveal a great deal on how children percieve the world and events around them.
I often enjoy having a child narrator, but the challenges of trying to figure out what was really happening with the adults
...more
Amanda
Aug 10, 2010 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this read because of the hope in spite of the reality of war. Placed during the 1982 War in a small village outside of Beirut, the main character is an 8 year old girl, and her perspective is refreshingly honest as she views the world around her - her family, her village, and the people who cross her path. Heart-tugging, but not a devestating kind of read; more hopeful and promising despite loss and pain.
Andy
Dec 31, 2010 Andy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an easy read about the hardships of life in a war torn country. It was refreshing to see the life of this family thru the eyes of Ruba, who is 8, as she grapples with tensions within her family and religious bigotry in her country. Now if I can just get my daughter to put down her wonderful fantasy books by Tamora Pierce and Rick Riordan for a bit, she can take a look thru Ruba's eyes too!
Sheridan
Jun 26, 2009 Sheridan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east, fiction
Narrated by 8 year old Ruba, this book tells the story of a Lebanese family during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the 1980's. It's not so much a story about war as it is a story about a family surviving and loving despite difficulties and circumstances beyond their control. Beautifully written and very engaging. A satisfying tale. The author, a Lebanese woman who grew up through these same events, captures the observations and insights of young Ruba with great thoughtfulness.
Carla
Apr 21, 2012 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I liked this book. It's about a girl living through the Lebanese Civil War, so it's got some heavy topics. Certain parts of this book were confusing, but I think that it was meant to be that way since the story is from the point of view of an eight year old. One thing I didn't like though was that the book ended suddenly; I thought it would've been better if there was an epilogue from an older version of the narrator so the story could have some closure.
Hagar
Nov 02, 2014 Hagar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tender narrative, this is how I felt it. Magical through the eyes of a little girl, who doesn't understand war, doesn't understand labels, differences, sadness, and just wants to lift the curse. It is not about who started the first gun shot, but how we reached this in Lebanon, how to survive this.
Marina Zala
* books 95 - 2014 *

buku ini saya berikan rating 2,7 dari 5 bintang.. tema yg diangkat sevenarnya menarik mengenai kisah suatu keluarga yg bertahan hidup di era 1980an dimana Beirut dilanda perang..

cuma sayang alurnya terlalu lama dan membuat cepat bosan membacanya.. apalagi ini diambil dari sudut pandang ruba, gadis kecil berusia 8 tahun yg harus hidup di jaman ini..
Tyra
Jun 29, 2009 Tyra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tyra by: bookbrowse
I enjoyed this book up until the end (which really wasn't an ending IMHO). As the main character is an 8 year old girl, you get a glimpse of what living in a country at war is like for children who have no understanding of what is happening.

I wouldn't search for the book, but if you stumble across it, you might pick it up
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