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Say You're One of Them
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2019 Group Reads > Say You're One of Them May 19 Group Read

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message 1: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
According to the poll Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan will be May's group read. We will hold discussions in this thread. We will beginning reading on May 1st. The discussion schedule is as follows:

Once I purchase the book I will post the weekly discussion schedule for this book.
Please let me know below if you will be joining this discussion.


message 2: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
Awesome!!


QueenAmidala28 | 29 comments I’m in. Just borrowed it from the library so I’m going to start reading so I don’t fall behind. Can’t wait for the discussion!


message 4: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Has anyone else purchased or borrowed this book?


message 5: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I have my copy.


message 6: by Ev (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ev Petgrave | 5 comments Yay! My nomination won. :). I am always happy to re-read this book.


message 7: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee | 708 comments I’m in.


message 8: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Have you received your copies yet? I am picking mine up from the library today. The schedule will be followed as:
An Xmas Feast and Fattening for Gabon
May 6th

What Language is That
May 13th

Luxurious Hearses
May 20th

My Parents Bedroom
May 27th


If you are discussing part of the story that is not within the time frame please put spoiler alerts. If you don't know how to do the spoiler alerts message me and I can walk you through it. If it is a section that is open for discussion for the week or previous weeks please assume that there will be spoilers without alerts.

has anyone started reading yet?


message 9: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments Just got copy of audiobook from library.


message 10: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I'm gonna start this weekend!


message 11: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Awesome! I just finished chapter one. It's gonna be a great read!


message 12: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments kisha wrote: "Awesome! I just finished chapter one. It's gonna be a great read!"

Yes, in deed!


message 13: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited May 06, 2019 05:19AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
So I didn't realize how long Fattening for Gabon was. So with that being said we will push off the reading for that part until maybe the end of the week. Has anyone finished An Ex-Mas Feast yet?

Here are the Discussion questions for
An Ex-mas Feast If you haven't started or finished this section please know from this point forward there are spoilers.

1. What do you think was the significance of Maisha's trunk? Why didn't her parents ever try to open the trunk?
2. Miasha's parents knew she was prostituting. It seems they judged her for it yet depended on her to do it as well. What are your thoughts about her, twelve years old prostituting with her parents knowledge? Do you think there is an exception with the proverty they were in? Do you think her parents should be disgraced?"
3. Miasha decided to go "full-time" prostitution and leave her family behind. What is your opinion of that? Do you think the poverty and responsibility to her family was too much for her? Will she continue to provide for her family from afar?"
4. The story is told in the perspective of an 8 year old boy named Jigana. Why do you think the author chose a child to tell this story? Do you think it was better or would it have been better to be told in the perspective of an adult?
5. When Maisha left home, Jigana left behind her. He said that was the last time he ever saw his family. Why do you think he left? Where did he go? What do you think a future for him would be?
6. Kabire is a huge issue for Youth in parts of Africa. It is used to stop hunger pangs but it is also abused as a drug to get high. With the poverty that they are facing what is your opinion on the use of Kabire in this story?



message 14: by Trudy (last edited May 06, 2019 12:43PM) (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments This is one powerful book! I finished FATTENING FOR GABON, however I’m glad for a little reflection time and a chance for my soul to heal after these stories.
My thoughts on little Maisha: what an incredibly strong girl! She not only gave up her innocence but also her own hopes and dreams for her family and because of her family. I think she realized that her dream of school was never going to happen and her body was a route to independence from her family, while at the same time helping them. She seemed so torn, to me, between being a child and this child/woman.
Her parents....wow! They undercover encouraged her, while outwardly appearing to be scandalized. I was disgusted by them, but I have also never known this level of desperation. Did the father even work.? Maybe there was no work for him, I don’t know. What about the mother....what did she do? I would have thrown myself on the street before I’d allowed this to happen to my daughter. Then again, Maisha had obviously been devalued and without parenting for-along time, so she developed a pretty strong mind of her own. Anxious to hear what you guys think.?


message 15: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
This story was something serious! The entire family depended on 12 year old Maisha to support them?!? I guess the mom couldn’t work because of all the babies, but couldn’t she have become a street vendor? The dad got fired from his job, but he couldn’t find another?! There was just sooo much on that poor baby’s shoulders.

I honestly don’t understand how her parents could condemn her, yet push her out into the streets every night. That made me furious!!! She probably left home so that she could actually start living for herself. I mean at 12, she’s probably seen it all. Maybe she will find another career. Maybe she’ll find someone who cares enough to pull her out of that lifestyle. Maybe Jigana left in order to help her the way she was helping him. They did seem pretty close.

I appreciate the story being told from Jigana’s point of view because children stick to facts and don’t sugarcoat anything. Lol.

As far as the trunk, I’d like to think that it’s Maisha’s innocence or memories of. She keeps it locked away, she always returns to it...never sharing it with anyone. And when she finally leaves for good she takes it with her.

Now I do have a question about the mom and the pregnant dog. She took care of the dog in order to get healthy puppies to sell. What do you think about that? Do you think it was a play on anything?


message 16: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments Lulu wrote: "This story was something serious! The entire family depended on 12 year old Maisha to support them?!? I guess the mom couldn’t work because of all the babies, but couldn’t she have become a street ..."

Lulu, I like your insight into the trunk. Honestly, before you posed the question, I didn’t think much about it.

Now, you got me about the pregnant dog. LOL!



message 17: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
Trudy!!! It’s something to that dog!!! LOL!!!!!


message 18: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments Do you guys notice how education is treated with such reverence? Maybe that is another reason the author uses children as the central characters.


message 19: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
Trudy wrote: "Do you guys notice how education is treated with such reverence? Maybe that is another reason the author uses children as the central characters."

It honestly seems like education is valued in every country, except America. I won't get on that soap box though. LOL


message 20: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited May 07, 2019 05:34AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Trudy: "...Her parents....wow! They undercover encouraged her, while outwardly appearing to be scandalized. I was disgusted by them, but I have also never known this level of desperation. Did the father even work.? Maybe there was no work for him, I don’t know. What about the mother....what did she do? "

Trudy omg my exact sentiments! I typically try not to judge characters but I just couldn't fathom the idea of her parents doing nothing while there children are prostituting and begging with a baby as bait! The dad was a pocket picker. It seems the only income was from the children. They should truly feel ashamed of themselves. A twelve year old girl treated like the head of the household and using her body to financially support her family. I would have left too!
However, from my little research it seems that child prostitution is fairly common in Kenya. And unlike in the states, a twelve year old girl is old enough to marry! And of course it's no secret that women are devalued in those parts of the country. It's a sad truth that I just can't wrap my brain around.

"Lulu: Now I do have a question about the mom and the pregnant dog. She took care of the dog in order to get healthy puppies to sell. What do you think about that? Do you think it was a play on anything?

I forgot all about the dog! lol. I think it was just another means of money. It wasn't even their dog she just knew she was pregnant and decided to profit from it. As for as a "play on anything", I think it's funny that she isn't very maternal with her children. But for the dog she was willing to care for her but only because she reaped financial benefit. It also showed their desperation.

Trudy:Do you guys notice how education is treated with such reverence? Maybe that is another reason the author uses children as the central characters
Yes, education is valued far more in other countries than it is in America. I think for Americans it's privilege. third world countries need education like they need their life because it is truly the difference between poverty and stability. It seems that in in the states but there is a huge difference between third world and first world poverty. Education is something that we take for granted whereas others depend on it.

The Trunk
Had I wrote this it would have been titled The Trunk because this story circled around this trunk so much. I think the trunk symbolized so much in this story. It was filled with so much mystery and even hope. They knew that as long as the trunk was still there Maisha would be back even after days of disappearances. The whole family took a sort of comfort in the trunk. Jigana used it as a way of knowing she'd be back. The parents used it for the same but also a way of showing whatever emotion they had towards Maisha at the time by abusing the trunk when upset or respecting it when they were proud or happy. Even the parents knew their boundaries. They respected Maisha enough to never open the trunk. When Maisha took the trunk the story was over. Everyone knew she was gone and wouldn't return. And that changed everything. For some reason I loved that the trunk was included in the story.


message 21: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments kisha wrote: "Trudy: "...Her parents....wow! They undercover encouraged her, while outwardly appearing to be scandalized. I was disgusted by them, but I have also never known this level of desperation. Did the f..."

Kiesha, your analysis of the trunk gave me chills! It was so good I had to go back and re-read parts of the story. Bravo, ladies! So glad I’m reading this book with you !


message 22: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Trudy wrote: "kisha wrote: "Trudy: "...Her parents....wow! They undercover encouraged her, while outwardly appearing to be scandalized. I was disgusted by them, but I have also never known this level of desperat..."

Thank you! I am almost finished Fattening Gabon. I must say I'm having a hard time getting into this one. I think we will open that discussion on Thursday.


message 23: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments kisha wrote: "Trudy wrote: "kisha wrote: "Trudy: "...Her parents....wow! They undercover encouraged her, while outwardly appearing to be scandalized. I was disgusted by them, but I have also never known this lev..."

Awesome!


message 24: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Fattening Gabon

1. In “Fattening for Gabon” the children’s uncle and caretaker,Fofo Kpee, sells them into slavery. How does Fofo’s poverty and vanity contribute to his unthinkable actions? Do his pangs of conscience redeem him for you? Why or why not?

2. This story used a lot of authentic language. Did it make it hard for you to follow? Did you find that it made this story more authentic?



message 25: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I'm still trying to finish this section! I'll be back sometime this weekend.


message 26: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Lulu wrote: "I'm still trying to finish this section! I'll be back sometime this weekend."

Me as well. I'm having a hard time getting into this one.


message 27: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
Ladies! This book is heavy!! whew!

I honestly believe Fofo was doing what he thought was best. He thought that both he and the children could benefit from them going "abroad". Big Guy was probably selling him a dream, a long with how all the over villagers were treating him. I'm sure he enjoyed that attention. Him finally coming to his senses was a good thing. Knowing the living conditions and survival situations in his country. I can say this did redeem him in my eyes. Although that situation with him getting naked with the kids had me giving major side-eye.

The language did make it a little difficult for me to follow. I think I started this one 3 times, before I finally broke down and purchased the audiobook. LOL. I'm glad I did though.


message 28: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments Lulu wrote: "Ladies! This book is heavy!! whew!

I honestly believe Fofo was doing what he thought was best. He thought that both he and the children could benefit from them going "abroad". Big Guy was probably..."


Lulu, I’m afraid I am not as understanding as you. LOL! I am totally disgusted by Fofo! He knew those children were being sold into sexual slavery and he even tried to “get them ready” with that whole naked episode. What a sleazy sneaky monster! Ugh! He just tried to justify it in his own mind by emphasising the educational opportunities. He knew dag gone well those kids were not going to school . So, no I don’t feel sorry for him and I feel he got his comeuppance at the end . My heart just breaks for both of those children . They are both destroyed .


message 29: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments Reading the language was indeed tough! My high school French helped a little and after a while , I forced myself to keep going and to rely on context to get me through .


message 30: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Yeah not much sympathy for me towards Fofo. He's a coward honestly (though I'm not very far in). What are your thoughts about "the godparents"? Early on especially?


message 31: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Sidenote: I am very behind. Still have 60 pages of fattening gabon to finish (don't judge me lol I had a hard time getting into this section.) Is it okay with you all if we delay the next section a couple of days? Or have you all already finished it?


message 32: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I don't know if I missed something, but I didn't originally know they were selling the kids to be sex slaves....that makes the story even sadder. I honestly have no sympathy for anyone in this story, except for the kids.


message 33: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I'm cool with the delay.


message 34: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments NP. The delay is fine with me too. I haven’t even started the next story.


message 35: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee | 708 comments I’m behind too.


message 36: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited May 15, 2019 05:01AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
So this works out perfectly lol


message 37: by Elissa (new)

Elissa Matthews | 32 comments Catching up - finals week - but better late than never!
An ex-mas feast was fascinating - tragic - heartbreaking, especially the ending. I liked what everyone's said so far, the family was doing the best it could think to do under unimaginably desperate circumstances. And the dog's litter being a mirror for the human family - it will stay with me for a long time.


message 38: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Elissa wrote: "Catching up - finals week - but better late than never!
An ex-mas feast was fascinating - tragic - heartbreaking, especially the ending. I liked what everyone's said so far, the family was doing th..."

Glad you are enjoying it! An exmas feast was a pretty good one. And agree it was very tragic.


message 39: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Yewa is only 5 years old I believe? It's amazing how quickly she had to mature. Reading this I keep forgetting how young she is. That is a tragedy within itself. There are moments that reminds you of her age. But for the most part she seems much older. Any thoughts on that?


message 40: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
Environment....parents’ illness...she doesn’t really have time to be a baby. She has to catch on quick.


message 41: by Lee (new) - added it

Lee | 708 comments Plus she had older siblings. Yes, Lulu, her environment raised her fast.


message 42: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
I am trying really hard to finish Fattening of Gabon but I just can't get into so I'm moving to the next story lol. Sorry guys


message 43: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Okay you guys I broke up with Fattening of Gabon and I am moving on to What Language is That. Has anyone started it?


message 44: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
LOL!!!

I haven't, but I will this weekend.


message 45: by Trudy (last edited May 17, 2019 12:14PM) (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments kisha wrote: "Okay you guys I broke up with Fattening of Gabon and I am moving on to What Language is That. Has anyone started it?"

Hahaha...! I did read What Language, but I pretty much broke up with Luxurious Hearses. Every time, I try to read it, I just start thinking about all the other things I could be doing. I’ll try again, though.


message 46: by Elissa (last edited May 19, 2019 03:03PM) (new)

Elissa Matthews | 32 comments I finished Fattening for Gabon, and I was glad I did, in that I finished my homework. But while I appreciated the craft of the writing, and the eye opening look into this tragic world, it isn’t a place I’m eager to return to time after time.

That being said, the main thing I thought about Fattening for Gabon is that I just don’t have the reference point to say whether fofo, or anyone else in the stor, is truly is a good or a bad. Fofo is keeping his niece and nephew from starving to death, is the sex trade really a fate worse, than death? Maybe not to those who are making this decision in a very very literal sense. In other words, what would I do in his shoes? I honestly have not the slightest clue.

“What Language is That” is a short , quick read with a sharp ending, but I’m sorta burned out on all the impotent people experiencing such horrific tragedy, without the ability to escape. So Luxuiroius Hearses just isn’t holding my interest.


message 47: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (last edited May 20, 2019 05:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Elissa wrote: "I finished Fattening for Gabon, and I was glad I did, in that I finished my homework. But while I appreciated the craft of the writing, and the eye opening look into this tragic world, it isn’t a p..."

I agree with Elissa. Ladies I think that I am mentally exhausted from this book. I don't think that I can do another story.

Elissa, that is a great insight about Fattening of Gabon. I, like you, try not to judge characters or pick them apart. I don't think the characters in this story are about liking or disliking but more so desperation. I was a little judgy of Fofo Kpee at first (especially after that awkward naked moment) but he was desperate. How can you judge that? I have been pretty low, I've been poor and I've been down, but I've thankfully never been that kind of desperate. So I can't relate. But I suppose I can empathize just a little.


message 48: by Trudy (new)

Trudy (goodreadscomtrudyspages) | 400 comments kisha wrote: "Elissa wrote: "I finished Fattening for Gabon, and I was glad I did, in that I finished my homework. But while I appreciated the craft of the writing, and the eye opening look into this tragic worl..."

Oh, ladies, I really try not to judge, especially in situations where I do not have experience, but I just cannot give Fofo any kind of pass. I also realize that we bring our own personal experiences, ect into each book we read. There in lies the difference in readers’s points of views. So, I’m really glad I read this with you and I will ponder....
I am also struggling to continue this book.


message 49: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2422 comments Mod
I just finished What Language is That and Luxurious Hearses.....this is...whew. These stories are so damn sad and heavy. Only one more....😩


message 50: by kisha, The Clean Up Lady (new) - rated it 3 stars

kisha | 3902 comments Mod
Which one was your favorite.


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