kglibrarian 's Reviews > The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya
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it was amazing
bookshelves: africa, immigrant, memoirs, nonfiction

I have a vague memory from many years ago of hearing about Rwandan refugees who were reunited with their family on the Oprah show. Now, 13 years after that reunion, Clemantine Wamariya has written a moving memoir about her harrowing experiences as she fled a war-torn home with her sister and spent years trying to survive.

Clemantine was only six when her comfortable life in Kigali, Rwanda was ripped away from her. One day, she was climbing trees with her brother, and the next she was sent with her older sister, Claire, to stay with her grandmother in a northern town. While there, fighting broke out and the girls were told to run. From that moment the girls go on a horrendous journey throughout Africa, staying in diseased refugee camps, rundown apartments, and occasionally winding up in comfortable homes. The isolation, physical and mental suffering, and terrifying uncertainty that they faced is unimaginable. When they finally wind up in America, their physical needs are met, but they continue to fight everyday to make sense of the devastation they endured.

Clemantine, with the help of her co-author, expresses the complex, confusing ideas that dominate her throughout her years on the run. Her courage, strength, and intelligence comes through on every page. Her story makes me sad, but like she would say, it's not my sadness to claim.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 2, 2019 – Finished Reading
June 3, 2019 – Shelved
June 3, 2019 – Shelved as: africa
June 3, 2019 – Shelved as: immigrant
June 3, 2019 – Shelved as: memoirs
June 3, 2019 – Shelved as: nonfiction

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