Madeline's Reviews > Parvana's Journey

Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis
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Jan 27, 10

bookshelves: assigned-reading, kids-and-young-adult
Read in January, 2010

My professor shouldn't have made my class read three refugee books in a row. If I'd been in charge of the syllabus, they'd be a little more spread out - read a book about refugees one week, then a book about gay teens, then a Holocaust one, repeat as necessary. But no. We're doing them all in a row, which will make my next comment delightfully horrible, especially out of context. I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah.

Apparently this book is the second in a trilogy, so I probably would have enjoyed the story a lot more if I had read Book 1 first. As things are, I was sort of thrown into the story without really knowing anything about the characters. So forgive the jaded and cynical response.

Next up is the Holocaust book marathon. Brace yourselves.

Read for: Social Justice in Young Adult Literature
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Comments (showing 1-19 of 19) (19 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 05, 2010 12:42PM) (new)

I kind of understand that, so I urge you to read the first one. They are really good and I feel like if anyone has to whine it is her. Even though I don't feel like she is. Read the first one, it's really super super good. I found it really touching, and at first I was taken aback by your review. Bye


Zainab You are one crazy person. I don't understand you!!!


Madeline I get that a lot.


Zainab GOOD!


trichomet so what exactly is your point? did learning about conditions in Afghanistan ruin your enjoyment of modern industrialized comforts? Are you aware that the average north american uses more resources in 6 months than the average afghani will in their entire life?

i find it absolutely shocking that young people of my generation are saying "blah blah blah" after hearing such a story as in this book. i'm not trying to be rude to you, but i feel like it's an honest responsibility for me to remind you to wake the fuck up and have some respect. "next up is the holocaust book marathon, brace yourselves"... maybe you feel overwhelmed by the suffering, yes, but please do not be so careless as to let this nihilist urge echo out beyond your mind. the point is to overcome this feeling of hopelessness.

"I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."

how often is your daily routine of relative opulence interrupted by refugees, honestly. how often are you prevented from enjoying your comforts, how much of your personal wealth do you really even attempt to share? if you simultaneously enjoy the fruits of the labour of the millions trapped beneath you, and find time only to speak apathy, then the best solution is to end your own life without delay. please understand i'm not trying to attack you or be rude. i just want to shake you up and make you question the following paragraph:

"I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."


Madeline Wow. The view from that high horse you're sitting on must be SPECTACULAR.


message 7: by Sunny (new)

Sunny I believe your point, Madeline, was made clear. You had become desensitized to refugee brutalities through the fault of your professor's syllabus abuse.

Your comment WAS, in fact, delightfully horrible - when taken out of context as it was. :)


Madeline Of course it's delightfully horrible - it was supposed to be. No one should ever have the reaction I did when reading Parvana's Journey, and the fact that my only response to the book was "ugh, not this again" should demonstrate that I read it under the absolute wrong conditions, and therefore everyone should take my opinions on the book with a giant grain of salt.

Trichome would have realized this, had he/she not be so excited about the chance to educate me on my Western privilege, which I was previously unaware of.


trichomet "I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."

you need to check yourself. there's no reason the above is acceptable. i'm not on any horse. you are clearly both aware of your privilege, and yet not terribly encumbered by it. please try to get over the feeling of embarassment. perhaps i should have just sent you a private message. the fact remains that the following:

"I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."

is an extremely fucked up thing to say, regardless of how tired you were that day from having to hear about refugees. i'm sorry the emaciated, landmined third world clawing at the hem of your garment (if abstracted through an admittedly imperfect lens of ellis's book) disturbed you. hopefully you can repress any humanitarian feelings you might have accidentally picked up by this encounter with reality.


Madeline Yes, because OBVIOUSLY this book was my first and only encounter with third-world poverty and hardship, and before this I had just assumed that everyone lived in Western splendor and opulence like me. Damn all the humanitarian souls like you for opening my eyes to the cruelties of the world and freeing me from my soundproof cave of privilege!

I didn't like the book. It's as simple as that, so don't you dare assume that because I gave a low rating to a book about refugees that I'm
"disturbed" by "the emaciated, landmined third world clawing at the hem of my garment." Go preach somewhere else.


message 11: by Margali (new)

Margali "please try to get over the feeling of embarassment."

You're hiding your embarrassment so well, Maddie -- one might think you didn't even feel it! :)


trichomet "I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."

that's all i have to say, and it's exactly and only what you said.

hope you can get through the holocaust unit safely without being assaulted by more boring, annoying played out images.

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (oscar wilde quote you like)

beware of pure aestheticism. it offers nothing. there is morality. we're reeling from a disgusting 20th century which seems to culminate in nihilism, leaving only hedonist appraisal of aesthetic values. but there is a common, global, human, secular ethic that is coming to be defined by our common experience, and it certainly would regard the experiences such as belong to the girl portrayed in the book. all i'm saying is there was a remarkable disrespect evidenced in your words when you said:

"I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."


trichomet "I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."

that's all i have to say, and it's exactly and only what you said.

hope you can get through the holocaust unit safely without being assaulted by more boring, annoying played out images.

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.
Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” (oscar wilde quote you like)

beware of pure aestheticism. it offers nothing. there is morality. we're reeling from a disgusting 20th century which seems to culminate in nihilism, leaving only hedonist appraisal of aesthetic values. but there is a common, global, human, secular ethic that is coming to be defined by our common experience, and it certainly would regard the experiences such as belong to the girl portrayed in the book as unjust and evil. as far as "embarassment" i meant that it is very hard to acknowledge a mistake when it is pointed out in public. i hope you someday will remember what you wrote here and understand how it was lacking in perspective. how hard are you done by really? there was a remarkable disrespect in your words when you said:

"I'm getting so tired of hearing about refugees. Parvana's Journey wasn't even anything new. The Taliban are evil, Americans are bombing my country, my parents are dead, I'm an ordinary person trying to deal with an extraordinary situation and also I found a baby in the rubble of a bombed house and blah blah blah."


trichomet also this isn't about the 2-star rating. i have my own problems with this book. this is purely about your review's content.


Madeline Thanks for your input. Now I can get back to dislodging the emaciated, landmined third world clawing at the hem of my garment, and also wondering why the hell I'm wearing something called a "garment" in the 21st century.

Seriously though, have you ever tried to get the emaciated landmined third world off your clothes? More stubborn than grease stains, I tell you.


Vicky What the fuck is your problem? Western people! Selfish, bitchy brats! If you had to to for two hours live Parvana's life, you'd probably whine and moan about how your iPhone or whatever shit you have is gone! You are so heartless to even say that!


Madeline You know, every now and then I consider just deleting this review, because it's not even very good and is unfair to Ellis's book, but then I decide that it's better to keep the review up. It's a delightfully effective lightening rod for all the trigger-happy champions of misguided moral outrage.


message 18: by Sunny (new)

Sunny Please don't delete your review. I've been on pins and needles waiting to see how you'd respond. I practically grabbed a bucket of popcorn and sat back to be entertained by one of Madeline's comebacks.


message 19: by Sue (new)

Sue "trigger happy champions of misguided moral outrage" <---for the eventual evolution of that line, this review was worth it


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