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The Bite of the Mango

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  3,388 ratings  ·  489 reviews
As a child in a small rural village in Sierra Leone, Mariatu Kamara lived peacefully surrounded by family and friends. Rumors of rebel attacks were no more than a distant worry. But when 12-year-old Mariatu set out for a neighboring village, she never arrived. Heavily armed rebel soldiers, many no older than children themselves, attacked and tortured Mariatu. During this b ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Annick Press (first published September 12th 2008)
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Mariatu Kamara grew up in a remote village in Sierra Leone with her aunt and uncle. The civil war raging in neighbouring Liberia spilled over to Sierra Leone and the 12-year old girl was eventually caught up in the war, losing both her hands. This is the story of how Kamara faced up to her losses during the war and how she overcame the challenges facing her to make a good life for herself and for others.

The RUF attacked anyone who was not with them and cut off their hands so that they couldn't v
Connie G
After a happy childhood in a Sierra Leone village, Mariatu Kamara's life took a tragic turn in 1999. The innocent girl was raped by an older man in her village. Then rebels attacked during the Civil War, killing and torturing people. The cruel rebels, many just young boy soldiers, hacked off both of her hands before heading out to destroy the next village. Twelve-year-old Mariatu managed to walk miles to get help, and found that several of her cousins had met the same fate.

Mariatu tells how they
Vanessa Jaye
Jun 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, africa
This ia a harrowing tale and one can't help but admiring Mariatu's indomitable spirit to overcome & endure all that she has in her relatively short life.

But as for the actual writing/relating of the story..., I skimmed through some earlier reviews and noted two couple of comments that resonated with my experience reading this memoir.

1) Surprisingly, I didn't feel as emotionally engaged as I expected I would be. I think this was in part for me because there were chunks of time that were skipped
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Mariatu Kamara was born in the country of Sierra Leone, a city wracked by civil war from 1999 - 2002. The rebel army made strong use of child soldiers, a trend that many people know about as a result of A Long Way Gone an incredibly moving book by Sierra Leonean Ishmael Beah. He was one of the boy soldiers.

Mariatu on the other hand was just an 11-year-old girl when her village was attacked by the rebels. The village was destroyed, many of the villagers were tortured and/or killed, the surviving
Ashley V
May 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I did and I feel a little bit bad about this review in advance. There are a few reasons why I didn't really connect with it as much as I'd hoped to and they are mostly based on what my initial expectations of the book were. Perhaps the fault lies more with me than with the writer, nevertheless, it's my personal review.

1. The history buff in me had hoped for a bit more background and insight to the civil war in Sierra Leone at that time. As it were, the book w
Meneesha Govender
Dec 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Wars in Africa and everywhere in the world have taken their toll on the innocents - women, children, the elderly.

The stories we are told often leave us in tears and the atrocities people experience at times of conflict are often unimaginable.

In this novel, Mariatu Kamara tells her story of living through conflict in Sierra Leone and how she escaped to Canada to start a new life.

She grew up in a small village and lived peacefully among family and friends. But rebel attacks soon got closer and clo
Janet Garcia
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The Bite Of The Mango" is an inspiring book of a young girl who had to go through so much as a child and growing up. With a lot of suffering and pain.This book might be graphical for those who might not like violence. but most of all, it teaches you a life lesson.

It teaches you to keep going forward in life even if it might be hard and to never give up when you think your world is going to collapse on you. Mariatu Kamara, was a 12 naive year old girl, who dint know much about the world, when
I don't know how this one slipped past me and I haven't read it, so I'm glad I pulled it off the shelf to read this summer.

It's a slim book, but a powerful story and while the narrative seemed a little stilted, the story remains the same-- the trauma of war in Sierra Leone completely took away the hope of Kamara until she was able to find it again with a dose of resiliency and knowing that people were listening all across the globe to the atrocities of civil war in her country.

Kamara's hands w
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fascinating
You know, I actually really found myself enjoying this book.

While the writing was not superb, the ideas and people within the novel were moving. Sometimes it's important to take a step back from your own life and look at the true, harrowing life stories of others. This was one of those stories for me.

I think one of the most interesting parts of this book is its connection to A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. I didn't even realize until close to the end of the book that I was looking at
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and inspiring.
This is a story that deserves to be read.
Dawson Lemay
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Bite of the Mango is a heartbreaking story of a girl named Mariatu. She tells readers of her past, in which heavily armed rebel soldiers attacked her village in Sierra Leone. These soldiers attacked and tortured her, and cut off both of her hands. She managed to survive, but faced a long and difficult road ahead. She is a testament of resilience and her story is a must read.
I think this book is appropriate for middle schoolers because though tough to read, it is told in a way they can under
Deb in UT
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This one is surprisingly uplifting and hopeful despite the terrible things that happen to Mariatu and her loved ones.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Laker
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story took place in Sierra Leone, North Africa.
A 12 year old girl named Mariatu is attacked by a group of rebels, who cut off both of her hands. While recovering in hospital Mariatu finds out she is pregnant from a rape that happened before she lost her hands. So now the child was having a child! As if things weren't bad enough, Mariatu has to beg on the streets to help herself and family members who also lost their hands.

Mariatu's story is certainly a tragic one filled with one devastati
The story of Mariatu Kamara who lived through a civil war in Sierra Leone is sad but enlightening. Most of us know about the atrocities of such conflicts but to hear about them from someone who experienced them is heart rending. She was just eleven years old when her village was overrun by rebels, many of whom were no older than herself. Witnessing the murder of many of her neighbors and friends, she survives and finds herself in a refugee center without hands. How she copes with her life from t ...more
Mariatu's story is compelling -- as a 12 year old she was raped and impregnated, then had her hands cut off by child soldiers during Sierra Leone's chaotic civil war. While living in a refugee center, she gained media attention and was eventually sponsored and brought to Canada for a new life of education and opportunity. I wasn't particularly impressed by the book itself; Mariatu's voice was so matter-of-fact that the drama of her story didn't come through as much as it might have. I also felt ...more
Susan Visser
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audible
Why oh why do I torture myself with such books? Why can't I be satisfied with glossy, happy books with no torture and abuse?

Clearly I had trouble with some of the content in this book, but this stuff really happens and the book will help us in the safe part of the world see the horrors of what those less fortunate often experience.

This story has a happy ending with Mariatu moving to Canada, getting an education and using her experiences to change the world. I hope she is successful... the world
This book made me cry. Yeah, there's a scene on where she eats a mango or two, but this story doesn't revolve around mangoes! I was balling my eyes out, my friends had to ask me repeatedly on why am I crying. I like this book because on how she has a totally different writing style on how she delivers her own message. She didn't drawl anything out in a boring way, or in the printed English handwriting. No. Out of all the words I read in the language of my mother's tongue I can feel the character ...more
Harriet Hirsch
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very worthwhile book. I was surprised to find it in the young adult section of the library as there is some really painful stuff to read. However it is about an 11 year old who experiences it and tells her own story in a very matter of fact way. I think that makes it easier to bare than it might have been otherwise. It's short and easy to read. I didn't want to put it down.

I enjoyed learning about Sierra Leone during the time of the civil war and thinking of how it must have felt to co
Shelby Tincher
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"The Bite of the Mango" is about a little girl Mariatu that lives in Africa. And rebels are attacking Sierra Lemon. When Mariatu and her cousin go to pick so mangoes for a snack. Then when they get back the rebels have captured all the village and her family. And the rebels like to torcher people so the cut off her hands and let her go. Will she live or will the pain kill her?
I think that the book is very good and that every one will like because there is never a dull moment. So read the book
Michele Benson
May 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I found this story very inspirational. That a 12 year old girl could survive all that she did is amazing. Again, I have to remind myself that this story takes place in present day and that it is nonfiction. We are so isolated in this country. I was also astounded to read about the different people that reached out to her from other countries. The foreword by Ishmael Beah was wonderful and it is a great aspect of this story that their paths crossed, the former boy soldier and a girl mutilated by ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heroine tells a harrowing story of surviving torture by child soldiers during the Sierra Leone war. Rebels were rampaging small villages. Residents were fleeing as they came nearer however hundreds were captured and either murdered or had their hands machete’d off. The details of this horrific event can not be summarised further. This is an important story which needs to be heard from the survivor’s words alone. My heart weeps.

I recommend this book to all people. I think this book would be ess
Shaeley Santiago
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Shaeley by: Shelley Fairbairn
Mariatu shares the story of her encounter with child soldiers in Sierre Leone's civil war and her journey from the hospital to a refugee camp and eventually life in the Western world. Her story shows the complexity of emotions and the decisions faced by refugees. This book relates to A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah ...more
Jill Dobbe
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable story about a courageous and determined girl who beat the odds. Mariatu's story is hard to imagine, as well as unforgettable. What she went through in her young life and who she is now is nothing but miraculous. She has so much to give the war refugees of Sierra Leone and others around the world. I hope her voice is heard. ...more
Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really interesting and tragic story-such authentic writing. I can really hear her voice. I love how much her personality shines. Can't wait to hear what she does next! Sierra Leone-not an easy life as an understatement! ...more
Abby Hogan
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was too much Susan McClelland and not enough Mariatu Kamara. Scenes and dialogue seemed contrived and targeted at western women. I didn't feel much magic with this tale. ...more
Petra X flooded out, tank burst, books destroyed
A girl loses her hands at 12 to armed rebels in Sierra Leone. Many years later she is a student in Toronto, a UNICEF representative and now... an author. Can't wait to read this. ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: auto-bio-memoirs
I apparently have a soft spot for Sierra Leone. I loved Ishmael's book, A long way gone, and I really liked this book also. Both are such brave people for sharing THEIR personal stories! ...more
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Mariatu Kamara was born and raised in the West African nation of Sierra Leone. Her harrowing experiences as a child victim of war and its aftermath are the subject of her memoir, The Bite of the Mango (2008).

Today, Mariatu is a college student in Toronto. She was named a UNICEF Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, which involves speaking to groups across North America about her

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