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Guantanamo Boy Kindle Edition
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More About the Author
Her second teenage novel: The Glass Collector, is set in Cairo.
US publisher: Albert Whitman
Author US book tour details available from Albert Whitman.
Anna has a grown-up son and lives in London. www.AnnaPerera.com Twitter: @AnnaPerera1
Q&A with Anna Perera
Author of Guantanamo Boy
1. What inspired you to write the book?
In 2006 I attended a benefit for Reprieve, the nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of people on Death Row and people held at Guantanamo and in secret prisons around the world. When I learned that children were also being held in Guantanamo, I was so shocked and appalled that I decided to write this novel. The title came to me immediately.
2. How did you do the research for the book?
I read everything I could on the subject, including Enemy Combatant by Moazzam Begg, Bad Men by Clive Stafford Smith, and the play Guantanamo by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo. The film Road to Guantanamo provided useful visual information, as did various newspapers and TV reports.
3. Have you ever met a real boy from Guantanamo?
No. This book is fiction and I didn't want to steal detainees' stories to write it.
4. What have Muslims in the UK thought of the book?
The Muslims I've been in contact with have sent heartfelt thanks. They've expressed appreciation that the book gives a glimpse of an ordinary Muslim teenager's life after 9/11, but have also been overwhelmed to read about the abuse of human rights, extraditions and treatment of detainees in Guantanamo.
5. Is this a suitable story for young adults?
Yes, because young people hunger and thirst for challenging stories that allow them to make sense of the world they live in. Newsworthy statistics and facts don't stay in the mind the way stories do. There is also lightness, humor, love, and forgiveness here, encouraging readers who follow Kahild's extraordinary journey to ask questions about the "war on terror" and the use of torture. Young people are the future, and I hope this story will help them create a fairer, kinder world.
6. How did you prepare yourself emotionally for writing this book?
Whenever something challenging appears in my life, I meditate to achieve clarity. Before I began writing each day, I went to a place of deep inner peace and asked for guidance. This helped me write with detachment.
7. You've published books for younger children in the past, but the idea for Guantanamo Boy first inspired you to write for teens. Are you writing more books for a young adult audience?
Yes--my latest novel, The Glass Collector, was just published in the UK and Australia, and will be released in the US in March. It's set in Cairo, Egypt, and tells the story of a Coptic Christian teenager. I have a third novel in the works as well. I feel completely at home writing YA, and I'll continue to work in this genre long after my reading glasses are fitted with telescopic lenses!
8. Any final thoughts?
Throughout history, rules of division and separation have killed and harmed innocent people without measure--and to what effect? I'm a pacifist, so how was it going to be possible to encourage compassion and the desire for peace by holding up a mirror to the insanity of this prison? All I can say is, I was compelled to try.
Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera
Top Customer Reviews
I only made it about 30 pages in before I had to start skimming, and then I couldn't even do that. While the story itself was compelling--a 15-year old British citizen finds himself in a secret prison, interrogated, tortured, and even waterboarded--the writing was awful. The present-tense point of view is jarring, and the dialogue is stilted and unrealistic. Too much exposition is revealed through dialog, and it comes off sounding awkward.
I am truly disappointed that such a powerful and potentially life-impacting subject received such mediocre treatment, and that the book's editors did not insist on multiple rewrites before it went to press. I hate to think that what this book teaches--primarily that the systematic detainment and torture of people without cause is wrong and inhumane--will be lost in the delivery.
What I notice about Guantanamo Boy is the underlying political statements. It is very critical of the war on terror. It is very critical of Guantanamo Bay. For the most part, I understand that criticism. However, I felt it was just a little too blatant for me. I'm not very comfortable when someone forces their political opinion on me. Yet, I do think what Perera has done in raising awareness about the unfair practices of Guantanamo Bay is fabulous.
One thing which bothered me, it may not bother you, was the graphic descriptions of the torture Khalid underwent. I'm conflicted as I write this because I especially found it disturbing. However, I suppose being edgy is necessary to get the point across about just how bad torture is, and how confessions extracted under duress aren't quite real confessions at all.
Guantanmo Boy was a compelling read, but THE MESSAGE was a little too loud, clear, and blatant for me. I thought this was an average message read.
This book is set about 6 months after 9/11 in England following 15 year old Khalid, an Englishman of Pakistani descent living an ordinary life in a small British town. He goes to school, has a crush on a girl, and lives for soccer. For the Easter holiday, his family travels to Pakistan to help his family. Although he was been warned about the increasing risks of looking Muslim, he has no fear being confident in his British citizenship. Yet soon into his visit, he is kidnapped, held without benefit of trial, and eventually sent to Guantanamo Bay. All told, he is held captive for over two years while his family frantically searches for him and many abuses against human rights are perpetrated against him and the other prisoners.
This is a hard book to rate because while I think it is important and well written, it's not the kind of book I can love. A book I love leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy, has generally made me laugh, and frequently has some swoony romantic scenes. This book is basically the opposite of that but still recommended to all of you out there with the caveat about some intense scenes with violence.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Anna Perera’s Guantanamo Boy is a suspenseful and heart wrenching story that takes place following the events of 911 in which an innocent 15 year old named Khalid is abducted while... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gil diaz
Story is eye-opening and thought-provoking. It’s not a book I’d normally pick up, but it’s an intriguing read all the same, and inspired by true events. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Majanka
I enjoyed the different perspective of this book. I would hope these types of things don't happen at the bidding of the US but there is so much cruelity and hatred in the world... Read morePublished 16 months ago by msbeauxarth
I thought it was a really amazing book because it shows that you should never give up on what you want most.Published 23 months ago by Hunter Alcaraz
I lived through 9/11, and it was horrid. Unbelievable. This book brings to light America's shear terror of being attacked. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Janet A. Lawrenz
Guantanamo Boy is a terrifyingly realistic novel. Khalid Ahmed, 15, was born in England. He only speaks English, rarely goes to mosque, never prays, never reads the Qur'an and... Read morePublished on September 7, 2013 by PDXbibliophile
Powerful book - frightening to think that this could really happen. It speaks to the resiliency of the human spirit.Published on September 7, 2013 by shopper