music: Kendrick Lamar - Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst
rating: 2 out of 5 stars
I started this book several times and stopped, then restarted this book. I finally finished it one afternoon, and not because I found it to be a particularly enjoying read. Each of these stories, told through the eyes of children, are absolutely heartbreaking. Child prostitution, human trafficking, religious conflicts, warfare, and blinding poverty are several of the topics explored in this book. Beyond the well-meaning intentions of this book, there are three major problems here. First, two of the stories, “Fattening for Gabon” and “Luxurious Hearses” are novella length and way too long to be included in this book. Second, although I can understand that the author was aiming for authenticity, the local accents and the French spoken by many of the characters make it extremely hard to read and add very little to the text. Third, the horrifying and disturbing details of the stories seem to be almost “reported” (told in an emotionless, detached kind of way) that beg your attention, yet pull you away at the same time. Despite the negative, I’d be interested in reading more from this author. He has a powerful voice that shouldn’t be ignored.