What is the What is one of the most challenging books I have ever read. Challenging because it asks me as a white American Christian living in abundance to examine my life. It’s impossible to come away from reading this book without thinking about why some people are born into abundance and blessing and others are born into extreme hardship and poverty. It’s also impossible to come away from reading this book without thinking about what my reaction should be to this story and whether I will be changed by it or allow myself to forget what I have read.
The book is the fictionalized account of the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese Lost Boy. The story is essentially Deng’s autobiography as told to Dave Eggers, however, due to his young age and incomplete memory during many of the events they elected to call it a novel rather than non-fiction.
I know several people who have told me they tried to read it and couldn’t because it was too depressing. It definitely is difficult to read. But the overall feeling I came away with was a sense of hope and redemption. It’s somewhat like Unbroken in that it’s amazing how the human spirit can survive and even triumph over extreme adversity. It helps to know that Deng not only made it out of the refuge camps that he despaired might be his home forever, but that he returned to Sudan to build schools and was named the Ministry of Education for his home state recently.
So, not a comfortable or easy book to read. But one very much worth reading.