Flashback April 2007

A look at what books I reviewed in April 2007:

Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen, Jeanne d’Arc Umubyeyi. Translated by Elizabeth D. Crawford. Young Adult. My review:A work of fiction about the Rwandan Genocide; based on what happened to the author’s adopted daughter, who at age eight survived the Rwandan Genocide. My immediate reaction to this book is best summed up: Horrible, horrible, horrible. Where to hide? Nowhere. Jeanne is eight at the time of the genocide; the book begins with Jeanne at age six, and while at first I thought “this is slow, why,” I soon realized that this served several purposes, including as a memorial to a way of life and an extended family that was brutally ended. When the slaughter starts we “know” Jeanne’s family. And the loss and horror is much more than if the book had begun on the day the killings started, with the family members only names. Eight. Think about that. You know an eight year old; protected, perhaps spoiled, watched, loved, supervised. Just like Jeanne. Think about the kids you know who are eight; and watching mother, sister, brother, murdered, yet somehow getting up, walking, searching, going on.”

A Girl, A Boy And A Monster Cat by Gail Gauthier, illustrated by Joe Cepeda. 2007. Easy chapter book. My review: “Brandon’s ideal afterschool activity? Watching TV. Hannah’s ideal afterschool activity? Hunting dinosaurs (aka turkeys) in the backyard, sailing a pirate ship (tree in the backyard), saving the world from her monster cat (aka Buttercup.) Hannah’s mom babysits for Brandon after school three days a week. So Brandon gets dragged into Hannah’s school games. With surprising and amusing results. Gauthier brings the funny. The humor is often very dry; for example, when Brandon describes Hannah he says “Her games are like really bad TV shows. Only you can’t turn the channel to something better because you’re part of the show.”

Austenland by Shannon Hale. 2007. Adult. My review: “Jane Hayes is in love with Mr. Darcy. Not just any Mr. Darcy; but the BBC Pride & Prejudice Colin Firth Mr. Darcy. Yes, we all know how that is. But it’s just a fantasy; until her great-aunt gives her a very unique gift. A trip to England. To Pembroke Park. Where you get to dress up and act as if it’s Regency England (well, Regency England with modern plumbing). Jane goes determined to use this trip to conquer her Mr. Darcy fantasy; but will total immersion just make the fantasy more real?”

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. My review: “Zombies. They attack. They almost win. Now, a decade later, an oral history has been assembled, from the doctor who treated “Patient Zero” (the first documented Zombie) to the American soldier who fought at the Battle of Yonkers, from the feral child who survived on her own to the South African who invented the notorious plan that ensured human survival at the cost of millions of lives.”

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