The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil. Crown, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-451-49532-7
Wamariya, a human rights advocate, and Weil, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, tell the powerful story of Wamariya’s experience fleeing Rwanda after the genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group began in 1994. While visiting her grandmother at age six, Wamariya and her older sister, Claire, were told to sneak out of the house after they heard a knock on the front door. For the next six years Wamariya and Claire crossed through at least seven countries, separated from their parents and living in refugee camps; when Wamariya was 12, they were granted asylum in the U.S. and landed in a safe home in Chicago. Wamariya was an ambitious student and even became interested in cheerleading. After graduating high school, she attended Yale, where she came to terms with the horrors she endured and read the works of Audre Lorde and W.G. Sebald (who taught her that “we live in all times and places at once”). At last, the sisters were reunited with their parents in 2006. This book is not a conventional story about war and its aftermath; it’s a powerful coming-of-age story in which a girl explores her identity in the wake of a brutal war that destroyed her family and home. Wamariya is an exceptional narrator and her story is unforgettable. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 04/24/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-525-52628-5
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-385-68700-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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