secondwomn's Reviews > What Is the What

What Is the What by Dave Eggers
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's review
Jun 19, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2007, fiction, biography

the last chapter stands as one of the most perfect endings ever.

my love for dave eggers' writing is well established, so i'm not even going to dwell on it. this book is moving and human in all the right ways. it's not just a story of war and refugee life, although it is that. it's not just the story of a sudanese lost boy. it's the story of a boy. and what's most moving to me is how the experiences of growing up persist. the horrors of his life are even more accessible because so many of his thoughts and feelings are anyone's, no matter where or how one was raised. the genius of this story is that despite deprivation, uncertainty, and hardship, valentino goes through all the same things any kid does: struggling with pride, shame, sexuality, identity, religion, anger, ambition, longing. he wants to ride a bike and meet girls and play basketball and please the people who help care for him and understand the capriciousness of fortune. and through all the terrible things that the sudanese civil war imposes on him, valentino retains the ability to feel hope, to feel grateful for the people and opportunities in his life. to strive for something better for himself and for others.


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