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A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
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's review
Jan 05, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-historical
Read in January, 2009

My daughter read this in school and said I MUST read it. I liked it as well. It is like Island of the Blue Dolphins (which I also loved): an adolescent girl forced to survive on her own. This one takes place in Mozambique, and the girl is Shona. I really felt that I was inside this girl, her thoughts and feelings were so well portrayed. While she is alone she talks to spirits: her deceased mother, the deceased owner of the boat she is using and the water spirits. The fun part is that they talk back and she learns from them. It is also fun to read her perspective of the white people she encounters, Portugese, English, and Afrikaner. My view of the world isn't necessary any more "true" than hers. The girl has a tendency to get mad at things that don't go the way she wants (as adolescents are prone to do and adults sometimes too!) Like when her boat crashes on a rock and she yells at the rock for being there in the river "where a rock shouldn't be". In the end she comes to realize that some of the things that happened to her which seems terrible at the time actually helped to save her. Were the spirits looking out for her, or was she delerious and insane? In the end, the English scientist decides to withold judgement on that question... I am glad that there is a summary of the history of Mozambique and Zimbabue at the end of the book. That way I could put the story into context. I learned about the culture and way of thinking of the Shona people. It seems like it is true to their culture.
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