This audio book is one of great interest, not just for the stories but for the narration.
I enjoyed the award winning narrators' "true to story" dialects. The stories are told
through a mixture of French and native African languages intertwined with English in a
unique way that not only characterizes the story but teaches as well. This would be a good
audio book for literary classrooms and as a teaching tool for young adults to get a feel for
the traumas of African lifestyle in the midst of conflict.
Author Uwem Akpan was born in Nigeria and attended the University of Michigan. In this,
his first collection, he tells the stories of children faced with intense and baffling
circumstances that show their resilience and wisdom in the face of danger.
In the first of five stories, "Ex-Mas Feast," a young girl is raped and released to
continue to be neglected by her parents, along with her brother, in a life of abuse.
Sadly, her parents accuse her of being a burden. They disregard her need for love and
protection to save themselves, as she sacrifices her own childhood to care for her brother.
"My Parentsí Bedroom" is horrifically sad as an unbelieving child plays in his own slain
motherís blood. These stories seem to have one thing in common, a shred of truth.
In the authorís own words, Akpan states that he wanted his book to be accurate and true
to the culture and traditions of the African people, so he traveled to the regions and
diligently studied the backdrops for his book. It is evident in his writing style. I did
not read the book but I have heard that the audio book is much easier to understand as the
written language barrier is difficult to decipher.
If youíre looking for something different, this is it. Be prepared to enjoy the narrated
story-telling style and dialect that will immediately draw you into the struggles so vividly
that you can easily visualize every detail.