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The Bite of Mango Paperback – September 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Relaying her experiences as a child in Sierra Leone during the 1990s, Kamara chillingly evokes the devastating effects of war. Mariatu is 11 when her tiny village is decimated by rebel soldiers, many of them children like her. Forced to watch as peaceful villagers are tortured and murdered, Mariatu is finally allowed to go free—but only after boy soldiers cut off her hands: We want you to go to the president, they tell her, and show him what we did to you. You wont be able to vote for him now. Mariatus long walk to get medical aid marks the first stage of a harrowing journey to build a new life for herself and other wartime victims; she now lives in Canada and is a UNICEF representative. Written with journalist McClelland, her story is deeply personal yet devoid of self-pity. As it aims to correct misperceptions about Sierra Leone and to raise awareness of the needs of child victims of war, this book will unsettle readers—and then inspire them with the evidence of Mariatus courage. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—Kamara's account of the atrocities she suffered at the hands of rebel soldiers in Sierra Leone is both harrowing and hopeful. The young woman had a typical childhood in her small rural village until she came face to face with rebels bent on destroying everything in their path. After bearing witness to the torture and murder of several townspeople, one soldier chopped off both of her hands with a machete and left her for dead. Summoning all of her courage, she found her way to a nearby hospital where she was reunited with her surviving family members. There, the 12-year-old discovered she was pregnant and was reduced to begging in the streets to keep herself and her son alive. When journalists arrived to document the horrors of life in her country, Kamara was understandably wary. However, being featured in their stories led to benefactors wanting to find a way to take her to a country where she could heal mentally and physically. After landing in Canada, Kamara found a home and a surrogate family who encouraged her not only to obtain an education, but also to share her story with the world. Her narrative is honest, raw, and powerful. In the same vein as Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (Farrar, 2007), the book sheds light on a plight of which many people are still unaware.—Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In her book, written with a co- author, Mariatsu asks that we bear witness to the war, to the poverty, and to the need in Sierra Leone. She doesn't crow about her own courage, although she is extraordinarily brave. She doesn't stoop to the maudlin. She shares her own times of darkness and depression when she judges herself coming short by her own measure; although not by mine.
Finally she offers us the chance to bear witness.