Monday, April 28, 2008

book review: The Gods Grew Tired of Us, Movie: the Kite Runner

I picked this book randomly off a shelf in Barnes and Noble and started reading. Couldn't put it down! It's the memoir of a Sudanese man who was one of the "Lost Boys" - war refugees from southern Sudan. His village was attacked in 1987 (when he was 13) and he fled with other refugees, got separated from his family and spent the next several years fleeing, starving, and surviving in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. He eventually makes it to the US in 2001, courtesy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the US government, just before the number of immigrants was sharply decreased after 9/11.

Despite the grim subject matter, the story is really well told. For me, it made the whole desperate situation in Sudan and Darfur more personal, and gave me new insight into the lives of the Sudanese families we have encountered here in Utah. For a few years we were peripherally involved in helping recent immigrants from Sudan as they settled here in Salt Lake. The book filled me in on more of their cultural customs and what it must have been like to go from that society to this one. There are some quite funny stories actually, so don't make the mistake of thinking the book is all one long horror story. The author's attitude and spirit shine through.

I highly recommend this one if you get a chance to read it. The author is John Bul Dau.

This weekend we also saw The Kite Runner. I had read the book a couple of years ago. The movie was extremely well done, and as faithful to the book as any movie I've seen. I heard that the kid who played Hassan had to go into hiding with his parents as they feared Islamic (fundamentalist) backlash - I'm not sure if it was the subject matter, or the negative portrayal of Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, or what. Oh well. Kudos to this movie - some sad/serious subject matter but the element of redemption in it came through.

Other random news: today is mom's birthday. Happy birthday MOM! I think she is in Italy on vacation. Hope she is having the time of her life.

Last weekend I took Alex to a birthday party where they had a magician who performed for the kids, mostly 3-5 years old. It was a riot. The magician was silly and knew just how to appeal to that age group's sense of humor. He had them rolling on the ground. At one point he had a little house with a Cookie Monster that moved around in it, then disappeared, only to re-appear later peeking out from his belt in back. Alex keeps talking about the man who had "Cookie Monster in his pants" and while I know what she is referring to, I'm sure it sounds very odd out of context!


1 comment:

josie said...

There is an excellent documentary of the same name about John Dau and his friends. Bryce and I enjoyed it a lot. You can probably get it at your local library.