Alan's Reviews > Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness

Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
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Jun 01, 09

bookshelves: first-reads, great-non-fiction
Read in June, 2009

Just won this from a Goodreads first-reads give away. Kidder is local and gave the commencement speech at my university graduation.

This is a remarkable story about a remarkable man. So much happened to Deo, and he overcame so many obstacles, that one is tempted to check the book's category to confirm that it is indeed non-fiction. The book opens with the story of Deo's flight from Burundi to New York and his quick descent into utter poverty and despair. A combination of his perseverance and the kindness of strangers allows him to get back to the path he had been striving toward before the violence in his country drove him out. I will not be surprise if Deo goes on to play a prominent role in the rebuilding and redemption of his country.

Tracy Kidder does a marvelous job of telling Deo's story without overly sentimentalizing or editorializing it. He allows us to see Deo as human, with emotions, pride, morality and doubt, rather than an idealized character. He also succinctly offers the pertinent details of the Hutu/Tutsi history and violence in Burundi and Rwanda. It is obviously not the whole story, but enough to give the reader a feeling for the events and the vastness of the human tragedy. A short but helpful list of sources is included.
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