MMBC: Driving Sideways Discussion

Just a quick post today. For those reading along with us, I have posted the MMBC discussion recap. Be sure to check it out!
Click here for the Author Q&A
We had a good discussion, everyone took time to write their thoughts and opinions. Thank you to everyone that participated.
Our next MMBC selection is 'Matrimony' by Josh Henkin on March 4th.

Guest Review: The Secret Life of Bees

reviewed by Lisa
Sue Monk Kidd's debut novel about Lily Owen's journey to discover her history and to find love, could be a very difficult read with theme's of hatred, abuse and racism. But Kidd has found a way, through a blend of an unusual story line and unique characters, to make this a story about love, hope and discovery. When Lily leaves home after running away from her abusive father and breaking her pseudo-mother, Rosaleen, out of jail, she travels to Tiburon SC to try to learn more about her mother who died when Lily was four--possibly killed by Lily herself. There Rosaleen and Lily come to the home of an eccentric trio of beekeeping sisters who quickly become their family. I read this book in a couple of days and would recommend it to book clubs.

NY Times Bestseller
NFO Book club selection

Type: Fiction, 336 pages, Trade paperback

Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens lost her beloved mother when she was only four—under tragic circumstances clouded by time and secrecy. She later found a fiercely protective "stand-in," her abusive father's outspoken housekeeper, Rosaleen. Ignoring differences in age and color—and the fact that racial hatred seethed during the summer of 1964 in rural South Carolina—these two unlikely companions set off on a seemingly aimless pilgrimage that ends at the home of a trio of eccentric bee-keeping black sisters.

Lily tells her remarkable tale of longing and love in an idiom and accent heard far south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but the lessons learned during her odyssey into the world of bees and their "secret life" are universal and everlasting.

In her debut novel, Sue Monk Kidd proves herself adept both at storytelling and at creating characters who are simultaneously outlandish and credible—in other words, worthy to join the ranks of such first-rate Southern stylists as Kaye Gibbons, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Ellen Gilchrist.


"Maybe it's true that there are no perfect books, but I closed this one believing that I had found perfection." - Book Magazine

Review: Still Alice

Still Alice is the first novel for Lisa Genova. Lisa has her PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard, writes a column for the National Alzheimer’s Association and lives in Massachusetts’s with her family.

This book is a haunting journey into a boomers' worst medical nightmare. Alice is a wife, mother, a brilliant Harvard professor and has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at the age of 50. The dynamics of each of her relationships with her husband, children, and students is grippingly realistic.
Genova has captured the Alzheimer's victim from the inside out in her story 'Still Alice' and in such a way the reader finds themselves as part of Alice's story.

I have no experience with Alzheimer’s and as I read this novel I kept saying to my husband – “this is an awful disease” or “I hope we never receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s”. At one point in the book Alice says she would rather have Cancer since there is a treatment plan and the patient has some control. Genova’s character development of Alice is very so deep and well written, you feel like you are listening to Alice tell her story.

Without sharing too much of the storyline – I encourage everyone to read this book. A moving story of what some of us will have to deal with in the years to come.

Type: Fiction, 320 pages, Trade paperback


Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she’s a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life – and her relationship with her family and the world – forever.

At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Winner of the 2008 Bronte Prize
Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers

“After I read Still Alice, I wanted to stand up and tell a train full of strangers ‘You have to get this book.’” – Beverly Beckham, The BostonGlobe

“A masterpiece that will touch lived in ways none of us can even imagine. This book is the best portrayal of the Alzheimer’s journey that I have read.” – Mark Warner, Alzheimer’s Daily News

Review: Getting Rid of Matthew

Jane Fallon is an award-winning television producer in England. Her first book, the bestselling 'Getting Rid of Matthew' was published in 2007. Her second novel 'Got You back' was published by Penguin in August 2008 and reached number 5 in the bestseller list.

In an article from the Daily Mail, Fallon mentions that Jennifer Aniston has purchased the movie rights. Personally, having just read the book, I would love to see this novel made into a movie. Click here for an author Q&A.

I have wanted to read this book for a few months and it was worth the wait. I often read books too fast, having to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the story. This is exactly what I did with ‘Getting Rid of Matthew’.

This is Helen’s story (the mistress), told from her voice. One day Matthew knocks on her door and explains he just left his wife, for her! There is one problem, Helen doesn’t want to be with Matthew. As the story develops you will be entertained and hoping for Helen’s idea of a "perfect ending".

Book clubs will love this story – there is so much to discuss and the characters are well developed. This is a good example of 'be careful what you wish for.'

Type: Fiction, 322 pages, trade paperback

A sparkling, sophisticated, witty story about what happens when he finally leaves his wife for you . . . and you realize you don't want him after all.

Helen is nearly forty, and has, for far too long, had an affair with Matthew, a high-powered, much older, attractive, married man who was once, of course, her boss. After years of being disappointed by missed dates, out-of-the-way restaurants where there's no chance of them being caught, broken promises, and hushed phone calls, at last Helen realizes enough is enough-it's time to dump Matthew and get on with her life.

This, of course, is the exact moment when Matthew decides to leave his wife for her. He appears on her doorstep, announcing, "I've done it! I've left her! I'm yours!" and proceeds to move in. Helen then discovers how much she can't bear him. But she can't just throw him out-after all, she's been begging him to do exactly this for years. The only thing to do, she decides, is to convince his wife, Sophie, to take him back.

“Helen and Sophie are so alive, you’ll find yourself wishing you could ring them for lunch.” – The Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A Hugely satisfying novel of tables being turned.” - Elizabeth Buchan, author of Revenge of the Middle Aged Woman

Review: Mrs. Perfect

This is Jane Porter’s fourth novel – a special thanks to Jane and her publisher for sending these books to read, review and pass along. I love the characters in this book series and I am anxiously waiting for the next one to hit the shelves...Yes there is another one coming!!

This story catches you by surprise, in the first part of the book you want to hate the main character, Taylor. She seems shallow and only concerned with appearances, as the novel progresses you find that she is vulnerable and when forced to deal with family circumstances beyond her control she jumps in and takes control.

I enjoyed reading this book and loved the character cross over from ‘Odd Mom Out’. I know a few women fitting the mold of Taylor in the beginning of the book but know many more women willing to help and do anything for friends and family. This books makes your remember what’s important.
BWAV rating of this book: 4 stars
Type: Fiction, 417 pages, trade paperback

As a young California girl growing up in a blue collar neighborhood, Taylor Young dreamed of being popular, beautiful, and acquiring a wardrobe to die for. Not to mention marrying a handsome, successful man and living happily ever after in a gorgeous house with three wonderful children. Now, at 36, Taylor has reached the pinnacle of her dreams, but is it all about to unravel? As the new school year approaches, Taylor prepares herself for playing the perfect alpha mom: organizing class activities, fund-raising, and chairing the school auction. But the horror! Her archrival, bohemian mom Marta Zinsser, is named Head Room Mom of Taylor's daughter's fifth grade class. As tensions rise at committee meetings and school activities, the two rivals seem to be destined for a final confrontation. But as Taylor plans her next move, she is floored by a more serious blow at home-her husband has been secretly unemployed for the past six months. With her posh lifestyle crumbling, Taylor struggles to maintain her alpha image-but could Marta, who cares little about appearances, be her only true friend?

“Real life hits trophy wife right in the Botox, in Porter’s empowering page-turner!” – Leslie Carroll, author of Choosing Sophie and Play Dates

“Jane Porter understands women. This is the kind of book you’ll want to share with your best friend.” – Melanie Lynn Hauser, author of Confessions of a Super Mom

Guest Review: People of the Book

Reviewed by Lisa

Note: Geraldine Brooks will be in Omaha Jan 18, 2009. Click here for details.

Brooks is an Australian journalist/author who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for her novel "March."

"People of the Book" is the story of the Sarajevo Haggadah (an actual 500-year-old Jewish Passover prayer book most notable for it's unusual illuminations). The narrative is told from the point of view of Australian book conservator, Hanna Heath, who first travels to Sarajevo in 1996, after the Bosnian siege, to do conservation work on the Haggadah. While there, she uncovers several clues as to the history of the book. From there the book alternates between chapters involving Hanna and chapters telling the story of how the clues came to be in the book. This back and forth style reads as if you are reading several short stories and really keeps the book going. Brooks writes beautifully descriptive stories that never feel overly wordy, she has very interesting characters and there is so much to learn historically. This is one of my favorite books in a long while; I had looked forward to it for some time and was not disappointed!

Type: Fiction, 400 pages, Trade paperback

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, the journey of a rare illuminated prayer book through centuries of war, destruction, theft, loss, and love.

“There’s a romance between Brooks and the world, and her writing is as full of heart and curiosity as it is intelligence and judgment.” – The Boston Globe

“Intelligent, thoughtful, gracefully written and original… Brooks tells a believable and engaging story.”- The Washington Post

January Book discussion, Pride and Prejudice

Thank you Katy for hosting this month – Angus is such a great dog (black labradoodle, filled with spunk; my dogs appreciate me bringing home dog smell for them).

We also had the chance to meet Camden, Jill’s third son; he is just 4 weeks old and a welcome addition to our group. So sweet and precious.

Linda – we missed you this month. We will have to discuss Pride and Prejudice with you in Feb (our resident Jane Austin expert).

Robyn – We are happy you were able to join us and we hope to see you next month.

This month we selected the classic Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austin. This was the first reading for two of us, most of the members have read Pride and Prejudice at least three times. We discussed our amazement that this novel was written in 1813 and is still relevant almost 200 years later.

Other items: We also discussed memoirs and decided to table this selection for another month. We can’t seem to find a book peeking everyone’s interest. We also discussed ‘Waiting for Daisy’ and might consider this as a selection.

Our April selection is ‘Getting Rid of Matthew’, written by Jane Fallon. This story is told from the mistresses’ voice – quite entertaining.

Next month we are reading Tomato Girl and discussing the book with Jayne Pupek. I will reach out to everyone to collect questions about 10 days before book club.

The Canterbury Tales

This winter I am participating in an alumni studies program to discuss Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘The Canterbury Tales’ with Professor Fleming (Princeton). The lectures are audio recordings from the Fall 2005 semester, which was Professor Fleming’s last semester teaching this course.

My life slogan is ‘continued learning’ and the internet has redefined adult education/independent studies. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought I could attend a class led by a Princeton professor via conference calls and the internet.

The class started this week with over 250 people attending, two lectures a week and links to the lectures (podcasts) on the internet. Simply amazing!

So today I start reading ‘The Caterbury Tales’, for the first time.

A little about Geoffrey Chaucer: (c. 1343 – 25 October 1400?) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Although he wrote many works, he is best remembered for his unfinished frame narrative The Canterbury Tales. Sometimes called the father of English literature, Chaucer is credited by some scholars as the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the vernacular English language, rather than French or Latin.
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales: which is a collection of stories in a book written between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The Canterbury Tales are written in Middle English. .Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.

Review: The Great Man

Kate Christensen, author of ‘The Great Man’, is only the fifth woman to win the Pen Faulker Award.

From the Pen Faulker website:
Pen Faulkner was founded by writers in 1980, and named for William Faulkner, who used his Nobel Prize funds to create an award for young writers, and PEN, the international writers’ organization, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation brings together American writers and readers in a wide variety of programs to promote a love of literature.

I haven’t been able to find much on the author’s background but did find a few articles worth sharing. There is a wonderful conversation with Kate Christensen on her webpage with Random House, which discusses the novel in great detail. NPR also has an article and an audio clip interview.

This novel grabs you quickly and is told mostly with dialog, a quick read. I was so interested to read this book – a refreshing new storyline!

The story is entertaining and centers around two women whom both had families with a famous painter, a wife and a mistress. The story starts five years after Oscar’s death when two biographers are looking to write Oscar’s story. The women’s mannerisms differ for each biographer and what unfolds to the reader is a full account of the life these families lived. There is no love lost – you will enjoy this story and there is a lot to discuss if you choose to read this for a book club selection.

You can find a reader’s guide on the author’s site.
BWAV rating of this book: 3 stars
Type: Fiction, 320 pages, Trade paperback

Oscar Feldman, the renowned figurative painter, has passed away. As his obituary notes, Oscar is survived by his wife, Abigail, their son, Ethan, and his sister, the well-known abstract painter Maxine Feldman. What the obituary does not note, however, is that Oscar is also survived by his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their daughters.

As two biographers interview the women in an attempt to set the record straight, the open secret of his affair reaches a boiling point and a devastating skeleton threatens to come to light. From the acclaimed author of The Epicure's Lament, a scintillating novel of secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.

"Mischievous...funny, astute.... As unexpectedly generous as it is entertaining.... Christensen is a witty observer of the art universe." —The New York Times"

Christensen's writing is clear-eyed, muscular, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceities of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual politics. " — O, The Oprah Magazine

"These characteres are wonderfully developed and break the stereotype of the aging female protagonist. Christensen...boldly has raised the bar." — USA Today

Review: The Fiction Class

I found "The Fiction Class" while looking for book club selections a few months ago. This is the first novel for Susan Breen who is a journalist turned author. This novel follows parts of her life, she teaches writing and the short story woven in the book is Breen’s work, Fortune, published over 10 years ago. I encourage everyone to visit her website, which is filled with facts, stories and a blog.

"The Fiction Class" is the story of Arabella, her fiction class and her mother. Arabella teaches a fiction class and is trying to complete her first novel. As you meet the students in the class, you see that they are really more than students, they come together to form a family over the period of the class.

This is also a mother daughter story. Arabella visits her mother after class weekly, usually with fast food in tow. The relationship is beautifully written and explored in the novel, genuine.

Breen brings the two storylines together masterfully, illuminating each other with quiet wisdom. A genuine, beautifully written novel that resonates long after you have finished it, filled with wisdom about writing and mothers and daughters. I recommend this book for book groups everywhere!
BWAV rating of this book: 3 stars
Type: Fiction, 296 pages, Trade Paperback

A witty, honest, and hugely entertaining story for anyone who loves books, or has a difficult mother. And, let's face it, that's practically everybody . . .
On paper, Arabella Hicks seems more than qualified to teach her fiction class on the Upper West Side: she's a writer herself; she's passionate about books; she's even named after the heroine in a Georgette Heyer novel.
On the other hand, she's thirty-eight, single, and has been writing the same book for the last seven years. And she has been distracted recently: on the same day that Arabella teaches her class she also visits her mother in a nursing home outside the city. And every time they argue. Arabella wants the fighting to stop, but, as her mother puts it, "Just because we're family, doesn't mean we have to like each other." When her class takes a surprising turn and her lessons start to spill over into her weekly visits, she suddenly finds she might be holding the key to her mother's love and, dare she say it, her own inspiration. After all, as a lifelong lover of books, she knows the power of a good story.

“Reminds us of what the right words in the proper order can give: pleasure, laughter, heartache, and… just in the nick of time, redemption.” – Marisa De Los Santos (author of Love Walked In)

“A poignant yet amusing tale of family relationships rendered even more satisfying by Breen’s dispensing of Strunk & White – like advice.” – Booklist

December Discussion - Thank you for all things

Thank you Linda for hosting book group, your house is decorated so nicely for the holidays. I am still in the process of putting up decorations this year… I’m not sure how that happened. We are awaiting news of Jill’s third child, due any minute! I wish you a quick, pain free delivery. As we learned last night, we hope the baby can stay with you until newborn fog sets in. I can’t wait to hear your labor story and meet the little guy.

This month we read Thank you for all Things, written by Sandra Kring. I enjoyed reading this novel, the characters develop nicely throughout the story and you feel like you are listening to a friend share their family history. I encourage everyone to read the questions after reading (even if you are not reading this for book club), reading the questions bring the book together and give it purpose.

Sandra was our first live phone discussion and we were so pleased that she took time to meet with us. I can’t wait to read her next novel, the storyline is intriguing. Book clubs wishing to have an author chat can request one through the contact link on Sandra's website.

Linda started the night burning sage to cleanse the room, channeling her inner Oma. Sandra has written three books and is currently working on her fourth, due out in 2009. Her writing does not reflect on her family history but you can find little bits of her in every novel. This story is written from Lucy’s perspective. We discussed how differently the story would have been if it was told from Milo’s eyes, Lucy’s twin brother. Milo and Lucy are so different yet you feel a strong bond between them. When asked if she knew from the very beginning what the secret was going to be, Sandra said she had no idea. She had to wait to see how the story would evolve and mentioned she only knows a character as much as the narrator knows them. The story is Lucy’s. Tess, Lucy’s Mother, is uptight and we are waiting for her to loosen up through the story. Sandra explained that some readers have had a negative reaction to Tess and that Oma balances Tess’s personality. Sandra shared that she has two friends in her book club to which she drew upon for Oma’s new age lifestyle and Tess’s being an atheist. She said, “I didn’t have to do a lot of research and it was so much fun putting bits and pieces of them into this book”. We felt sorry to Tess and were surprised to hear of an unlikeable reaction towards her. Sandra explained that some people thought she was a bad mother. In some ways we are all a little bit like Tess, cautious, a little bit afraid of living.

Sandra’s biography mentions that she runs workshops for people suffering trauma, she was quick to say she no longer facilitates workshops and trauma groups, which she did for 7 years and mentioned that we usually do not begin to deal with childhood trauma until our late 30’s/early 40’s.

She doesn’t believe you learn to cope, she feels you can move on and be strong. Mind, body and spirit – you can get your life back.

She likes to write from the subconscious – and likes to answer a question.

When asked “what was the question you were trying to answer in Thank you for all Things”, Sandra mentioned forgiveness, family secrets and what happens to families when there are secrets. Sandra wanted to show that life is a contradiction - a good example of this is a parent can be much different with their grandchildren. She wanted to explore this.

With 'Thank you for all things', writing Tess’s journals took a few days. She had to step out of Lucy’s voice yet Tess is told from Lucy’s mouth.

When she isn’t writing and on a break, she likes to get out, be around people. When she is writing, she writes everyday, all day.

Tips for Aspiring writers: Sandra was quick to tell us to first learn everything you can by reading as many novels as you can. This allows you to see what works and what doesn’t work. Read good books, read bad books. Once you are ready to go (with the idea or determination to start)… forget everything. A lot of writers try too hard to emulate their favorite author or favorite book, rather than telling the story in their natural writer's voice.

November Discussion - Loving Frank

Our November selection was Loving Frank, written by Nancy Horan.

This month we met at my home and I was happy to provide some entertainment for everyone while pouring glasses of wine. Jessie, my 2 year old dog, ate a ½ pound of cheese, 6 pieces of coffee cake and 12 seven layer bars which were displayed on the coffee table in my family room. I'm guessing she ate all of the food in less than a minute. She has never had food so close and the minute we walked out of the room she rejoiced! That’s a lot of food for a 40 pound dog.

We all know FLW and his architecture. He is a celebrated architect and all of his homes are considered historic. Only a few of us were familiar with his personal life, which is the center of this story.

Speaking for myself, I knew nothing about FLW’s personal life. This might surprise you since I studied architecture in college before changing my major, we didn’t focus on personal lives, only the glory of their work. At one point in the book, I wanted to go online to see if Mamah was a fictional character.

I really enjoyed reading this story and learning more about a man that I appreciate for his art and creativity. His work has influenced me and my surroundings.

All of us struggled with Mamah’s decision to leave her children behind to follow Frank across Europe. Being mother’s we couldn’t understand/comprehend how she justified these actions. The character in the novel seemed at ease with leaving them, knowing they would be surrounded with love and that they might understand someday. That said we did feel her struggle being an educated woman, a feminist, and living in the early 1900’s. We discussed this for a while, trying to reconcile if we were living back then how would we feel compared with today’s viewpoint.

We were all surprised to discover that FLW struggled with money and was in debt throughout the novel. He is a true artist, not a care in the world and with an ‘it will all work itself out’ mentality. Mamah didn’t have a dime to her name and struggled with the financial impact of her decisions throughout the story.

The fire, this was a brutal act of violence that I wasn't prepared for. I knew Mamah was murdered but I thought it would be related to her feminist work. Most of the women in our book group knew how she was murdered before reading the book but imagine learning about Mamah from this novel alone and you will get a sense of how I perceived her storyline. Not to give too much away for those of you that haven’t read the book, I will only say the ‘why’ was shocking to all of us.

We all enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about FLW. The novel was well researched, with articles to support the story and fictionalized letters to create involvement. You will talk to Mamah as you read this book, wanting to try to understand her more.

Review: Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road was first published in 1961. A moving story that reflects the attitudes of the 'fifties' realistically yet transcends time and can be meaningful to anyone in today's world. Click here to learn more about Richard Yates.

I finally read Revolutionary Road over the holiday’s this year - just in time to see the movie. I was able to envision Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio in the roles of Frank and Alice. The movie isn’t in my city yet, but I will see this in the next month or so.

The plot is powerful in that it deals with the economical, social and emotional impacts of the era from the point of view of both women and men. It’s a wonderful read told in three parts. The first and third sections read quickly and keep you involved, the second section moves at a slower pace but keep reading – it’s relevant to the overall storyline. Not one of my favorite books but at the end I was happy I read the book (I enjoy a well written novel and it’s nice to read a book written decades ago that is still relevant today).
BWAV rating of this book: 4.5 stars
Type: Fiction, 368 pages, trade paperback

"A deft, ironic, beautiful novel that deserves to be a classic." —William StyronFrom the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner. With heartbreaking compassion and remorseless clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April mortgage their spiritual birthright, betraying not only each other, but their best selves.

“One of the few novels I know that could be called flawless.” – James Atlas, The New York Time Book Review

“Richard Yates belongs with Fitzgerald and Hemingway as the three unarguably great American novelists of the twentieth century.” – David Hare, The Guardian

Guest Review: A Long Way Gone

Reviewed by Lisa
Ishmael Beah came to the United States when he was seventeen and graduated from Oberlin College in 2004. He is a member of Human Rights Watch Children’s Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations on several occasions. He lives in New York City.

This relatively short book takes the reader from a time when Mr. Beah was essentially a carefree child, through hell and back out the other side to a new life. I could not put this book down; the tension and fear were palpable. I knew there were boy soldiers but I couldn't imagine how children could become cold-blooded killers. By the time this story reaches the point when Mr. Beah finally became a soldier, you could begin to imagine how it could happen. The horrors he encounters throughout the war years are vividly portraited but not dwelled upon. Even knowing that the auther has clearly found his way to a safe place, the reader can't help but be concerned as he details his rehabilitation and survival. I was left with a profound sadness for all of the children of wars that are ongoing.

Type: Memoir, 218 pages, Trade Paperback


A gripping story of a child’s journey through hell and back.
There may be as many as 300,000 child soldiers, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s, in more than fifty conflicts around the world. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them. He is one of the first to tell his story in his own words.

In A LONG WAY GONE, Beah, now twenty-six years old, tells a riveting story. At the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. Eventually released by the army and sent to a UNICEF rehabilitation center, he struggled to regain his humanity and to reenter the world of civilians, who viewed him with fear and suspicion. This is, at last, a story of redemption and hope.

Everyone in the world should read this book. Not just because it contains an amazing story, or because it's our moral, bleeding-heart duty, or because it's clearly written. We should read it to learn about the world and about what it means to be human. The Washington Post - Carolyn See

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