From Publishers Weekly
Raised by Sudan's Dinka tribe, the Deng brothers and their cousin Benjamin were all under the age of seven when they left their homes after terrifying attacks on their villages during the Sudanese civil war. In 2001, the three were relocated to the U.S. from Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp as part of an international refugee relief program. Arriving in this country, they immediately began to fill composition books with the memoirs of chaos and culture shock collected here. Well written, often poetic essays by Benson, Alepho and Benjamin, who are now San Diego residents in their mid-20s, are arranged in alternating chapters and recall their childhood experiences, their treacherous trek and their education in the camp ("People were learning under trees"). Other pieces remember the rampant disease and famine among refugees, and the tremendous hardship of day-to-day living ("Refugee life was like being devoured by wild animals"). When the boys arrived in America, Benson, upon seeing a Wal-Mart for the first time, remarked, "This is like a king's palace." Although some readers may wish for more commentary on what life in America is like for these transplants, this collection is moving in its depictions of unbelievable courage.
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Many of the reviews simply summarize the book and plight of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," as if the reviewers were too awestruck by the story to criticize its telling. Critics describe the narrative as "numbing," "surreal," "amazing," "harrowing," and "haunting." Details of scrambling for food, crossing crocodile-inhabited rivers, suffering injuries, and joining the rebel movement against their will abound. One would have enjoyed reading more about the boys culture shock upon arriving in America; one would have liked a map of the boys journey. Yet all agree that this group memoir is moving and ultimately inspirational.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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