good book, fast read. Most of the book is about the experiences of a girl fleeing away of the war between rebels and State army, the laters trying togood book, fast read. Most of the book is about the experiences of a girl fleeing away of the war between rebels and State army, the laters trying to instaurate Islam in the christian and animist South Sudan and the formers trying to avoid it but at the same time stealing, raping, and killing simple civilians.
Then there is the part of Alek discovering a new world in the exile, adapting to it (it seems) easily though suffering some grade of racism sometimes. And the last short part, without many details, how she became a known model in the media.
Some of my favorite paraghaphs: - "They think you're too fat," Mora told me. "They want you to slim down". What? All my life I'd been told I was too skinny. I'd nearly starved, literally, a few times over the years, yet they were telling me I was too fat? (...) This definitely is the model's curse, and it's only worsened in recent years (...) It's always clear when someone has been hungry for a long time, because they tend to become depressed and listless. I've feel that, not because I needed to fit into a dress but because I was a refugee (...) I didn't lose any weight.
- Skin tone is a tricky thing. I've found that in America many darker-skinned african-americans both idolize and criticize lighter-skinned african-americans. What is this obsession with pigment? Scientists say skin pigment is largely a matter of geography; people who live in sunny areas, such as along the equator, will, over generations, develop darker skin as protection from the sun. People who live in northern areas will develop lighter skin as a more effective way of using the sun's limited rays to manufacture vitamin D. The biology is quite simple. Unforunately, the sociology is not.
-I am amused these days when people refer to me as having an "African" look. Africa is not a county; it's a huge continent, filled with many different types of people. Egypt is part of Africa. Madagascar is part of Africa. We're all different. For instance Ethiopians, in general, would never be mistaken for someone from the Ivory Coast. We have light-skinned Africans and dark-skinned Africans. Short people and tall people. There is no one standard of beauty for Africa. At least the big designers seem to understand that there's beauty in Africa.
This one was shocking: -This woman was about to die (about a woman and her baby, both starving, Alek found when meeting her relatives again in Sudan) and here we were doing a ritual that really didn't mean that much to me (Alek's relatives insisting that they had to first sacrifice an animal or the spirits will be angry, when Alek had asked them to take the woman and the baby to a feeding station).
In both sides of Sudan that she described (animist/christian and islamic), the way men treat the women is terrifying. ...more