The Girl Who Smiled Beads

Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil, read by Robin Miles. Random House Audio, unabridged, 8 CDs, 9 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-525-52628-5
Miles’s nuanced, emotional reading makes listening to Wamariya’s haunting life story an unforgettable experience. As a six-year-old child in Rwanda, Wamariya and her older sister, Claire, were forced to flee the Rwandan massacre without their parents. The sisters struggled to survive on their own for six years as they traveled through seven African countries, endured horrific refugee camps, and found brief periods of safety staying with distant relatives—only to have the war and violence descend on them, too. Finally the two make it to America and settle in Chicago where a family takes in Wamariya and provides for her, while her sister struggles as a single mother. The audio edition concludes with recorded commentary by Wamariya, giving listeners the opportunity to hear the author’s voice, but the main narrative is read by veteran voice actor Miles who fully embraces the role of Wamariya and easily enthralls listeners. Miles’s voice alternates between calmness, fear, anxiety, rage, and contemplativeness, as she sifts through Wamariya’s memories and helps convey the author’s complicated emotions. The sterling narration makes for a powerful audiobook. A Crown hardcover. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/25/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Audio
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-385-68702-7
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-451-49532-7
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-385-68700-3
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-451-49533-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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