Nancy's Reviews > Say You're One of Them

Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan
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's review
Nov 02, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories, fiction, refugees, africa
Read in November, 2009

This book is so emotionally draining, I had to take a break between stories and put it aside. It's composed of two novellas and three short stories, written by a Jesuit priest who was born and raised in Nigeria. He states his motive in writing is to bring attention to the suffering children caught in the midst of the endless conflicts of Africa. His writing is immediate and involving as he tells the stories of neglect, child prostitution, slave trade and ethnic cleansing through the eyes of children. Each story is more horrific than the last. Two of the stories are about children caught in the middle--half Christian/half Muslim and half Tutsi/half Hutu. They are hopeless--there is no haven for them.

And Hopelessness is the emotion I was left with after reading this book. The savage brutality and indifference for human life is beyond the realm of my imagination. It's a book I almost wish I hadn't read, because I can't forget it. It's truth is both its strength and its weakness.
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Rena Jane I felt much the same, Nancy. I applaud and am glad that Uwem has found and uses his voice, but the situations of the children were so horrific and so real that it was hard to read and left me feeling so hopeless to help or change their lives. We need to know this stuff happens in the world. More of our kids need to know it, but what do we do to change it?

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