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Guantanamo Boy Paperback – August 1, 2012
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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 wasn't the worst book I've ever read but it certainly wasn't the best either. The story was interesting enough but I found the author's writing style to be very lazy. This book was apparently aimed at teenage readers, so I can understand why more simplistic language was used but there's no excuse for the amount of sentence fragments in this publication. That's just laziness. Her place descriptions are weak, making different locations seem to blur into one instead of remaining distinct in the reader's mind. Not the most effective writing style when trying to make such a big impression.
I've recently read many favorable reviews of this book so maybe I'm missing something. I just thought this book could have been so much better than it actually was.
I think the author did an excellent job potraying Khalid's feelings.