Leslie Street's Reviews > Running the Rift

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron
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Mar 08, 12

Read from February 27 to March 07, 2012

I keep going back and forth whether or not to give this book three or four stars. I have read several nonfiction books on the Rwandan genocide and I feel like that is getting in the way of my ability to evaluate this book as a work of fiction. In my opinion, the book reads a little dryly. The author tries to situate a fictional story within an accurate historical setting, and in my opinion, this makes all of the characters a little on dimensional. I think that it is hard to write fictional characters when the real stories of what happened to people in the genocide is so compelling. Everything in this book feels a little to forced. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed reading this book, but that could also be because I have spent so much time studying the Rwandan genocide that I am compelled by the subject and not the book itself. I like the main character in the book, Jean Patrick, but it is weird to remind yourself that this story is fictional, because there are plenty of real people who actually suffered in the way that Jean Patrick did. I don't know, I guess I still come down on the idea that nonfiction books about the real people who suffered through the Rwandan genocide are better than fictionalized accounts. Good fiction writing can't substitute for real emotions, feelings and events as actually lived.
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