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Say You're One Of Them (oprah's Book Club)

by Uwem Akpan
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • Publishing date: 18/09/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780316086370
  • ISBN: 0316086371

Synopsis

Each story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.

A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family’s struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle’s attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today’s Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.

Uwem Akpan’s debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.

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  • Bad Things Happen...
    From Amazon

    and you don't need to be repeatedly reminded that it happens worldwide. Why? Because it is happening here, in the United States. Everyday. Every damn minute. Oprah needs to remember that there is evil and horror stalking the children where she makes her money, but, like the rest of her anti-American friends, wouldn't spend a dime to save. Don't agree? Watch "Nancy Grace" and "America's Most Wanted". The only reality that matters is happening at home.

  • Worried about problems in your life? Read this and your problems will seem miniscule.
    From Amazon

    Disgraceful. Ugly. Things written that one should never have to read about. Africa through the eyes of innocent children. This is a book of five short stories ranging from 20 to 120 pages. It is not hard to read until towards the end of each story when the punchline is written and suddenly you realise the impacts that tribalism, poverty and spiritual belief have on societies which lack the basics of education and material benefits. This is a shocking book. There is no other way to describe it. Written by an African Jesuit this book, like no other I have read will assist you see Africa through African eyes. And thos eyes of children should not have to witness what the stories tell. To give a synopsis of the book would spoil it for anyone wishing to read it other than to say it deals with the issues of child trafficking, child prostitution, genocide and religious conflict.

  • A Gripping Read
    From Amazon

    It took me but a weekend to read Say You're One of Them, a collection of stories written by Uwem Akpan, S.J., and featured as a Oprah's Book Club selection, but much longer to process. Working with children in urban schools, who are faced with myriad difficulties, it takes a lot to unnerve me. This haunting collection, however, left me rattled. Unlike many stories told by children, but written by adults, each of the stories in this collection feels authentic. Civil wars, child prostitution and enslavement, disease and bitter religious battles unfold before the reader. Shared from the viewpoint of children, these unspeakable realities feel at once accessible and unfathomable. "How could this be happening to a child?" I kept asking myself, and then, "How could this be happening at all?" Akpan's masterful ability to tell a story in a child's voice lends grit and gravity to story lines that are already quite gritty and grave. His ability to shape a character so complex--sometimes in just a few pages--that I found myself feeling empathetic toward an uncle who would sell his own niece and nephew, is telling. Akpan has a gift for engaging the reader in situations we might prefer to look away from, while showing us the humanity of each player, the whole person. In doing so, the people affected--not prostitution, not war--become the center. We might be able to delay in addressing the issues, but how could we delay in addressing a child? Uwem Akpan, and the voice he lends to his characters, elevates the reader's consciousness. He reminds us that often, the situations that need the most attention are the most difficult to look at and, by sharing the stories of children, we realize what we risk in looking away. Say You're One of Them is must read.

  • Better for reading this book
    From Amazon

    I am at a point in my life where I feel the importance of paying attention to other parts of the world and how their people live is vital. It makes me grateful for the privlege of living on American soil. It also puts for me into perspective all the things I take for granted and gets me out of my own head, not always such a great place to be. My reaction after reading was more contemplative as opposed to outraged. One of the most interesting parts of these stories was the acceptance of the children narrators that their lives and situations were what they were even though universally children are all the same in their limits to what they understand. All these children were so courageous in their suffering. The author was careful not to paint them in a pitying light and this aspect profoundly colored the way these stories read. It even buffered the atrocities for the reader and perhaps made them more accessible so that we could really hear the voices of these children. If I had to choose one story that touched me particularly it would be Luxurious Hearses, the longest of the stories. There was a sense of heartbreak at the end of that very long journey for the main character but again my reaction was tempered. I foulnd myself wishing that things could have been different even while understanding that they were what they were.

  • Fantastic book !!
    From Amazon

    This book is really an eye opener to what children go through in life. For this book to be written from the child's perspective makes the reality of it more concrete. The author did a good job of bringing another side of the world into our homes.

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