Helmisade's Reviews > Child of the Jungle: The True Story of a Girl Caught Between Two Worlds

Child of the Jungle by Sabine Kuegler
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's review
Jul 05, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: anthropology-and-ethnography, memoirs-and-biographies, non-fiction, places-in-the-world

I have a feeling that someone has recommended this book to me in the past...possibly. That's probably why it caught my attention at the library while I was looking for another book.

This book has many layers. First, it's a biography and tells the story of a young woman growing up and searching for herself. Second, it's a description of a culture and a community and what it means to live amongst a small tribe as a stranger. Third, it's a story about culture shock and the experience of not really belonging anywhere which I believe most expatriate children can identify with.

I studied anthropology at university and have read something about Papua previously. So for me just reading about the Fayu tribe and their way of life was the highlight of this book. I also really liked Sabine's family, especially her dad who comes accross as an extremely intellegent and passionate man.

The parts where Sabine describes her difficulties in adjusting to the western culture were sometimes a bit overly dramatic to my taste. You get the feeling that she was writing through her pain, which is great for therapy or perhaps poetry, but not for a lifestory. Maybe waiting a few years before publishing would have given her more perspective on this matter. I will admit though that I have no personal experience of cultural alienation so there's no way I could really understand this process.

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