Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#TBRChallenge Reading: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

2016 TBR Reading Challenge
Book: A Long Walk to Water
Author: Linda Sue Park
My Categories: Children's, Contemporary
Wendy Crutcher's Category: Contemporary

This is a contemporary children's true story that's been partially fictionalized. It's set in 2008 and 1985 Sudan. It was recommended by my daughter.

As I read this book, my heart ached for the two children whose life story this is. They're so very young and have so much hardship in their lives.

The little girl, Nya's only job is to walk eight hours to the water hole every single day to fetch water for the family. She does nothing else other than that and occasionally has to cart a younger sister along with her on the journey. This is the story set in 2008.

The boy, Salva's story, set in 1985, is one of utter displacement from family. Under fire of an incoming battle, he is forced to run away from school and away from his family and village. Miraculously at some point on this walking journey across the plains and desert of Sudan to Kenya, he meets up with his uncle and makes a friend thus alleviating some of his loneliness. But like everyone he has loved, they, too, die.

While exhaustion and boredom are Nya's constant companions, exhaustion and fear are Salva's. And yet through superhuman effort almost, these children persist and survive. Salva goes on to survive the war, to move to America, and thrive. He returns to Africa digging wells all over Sudan. And it is because of a well, Nya and Salva meet. Two such different lives following such different trajectories come together over life-affirming water.

I cried over this story and even now as I'm typing this, my heart's so full. Go, read this story. It's short but so beautifully written. Sometimes, the best of stories don't need too many words to convey a wealth of meaning.


willaful said...

It sounds very poignant.

Keira Soleore said...

It's so well written, Willa. And such a difficult read for that it is understated in its emotions. But what it does reveal is heartbreaking.

Jennifer said...

Wow! I want to read this, but I know I will need to be in the right mindset. Yeah for great kid recommendations!

Keira Soleore said...

Jennifer, after last year's reading record, whenever my daughter says, "You have to read this," I do. Thanks to her, I have read great YA books.

I highly recommend this book, but yes, it grabs you by the throat and does not let you go till the end. So choosing when to read it is a good idea.

azteclady said...

Basically, what Jennifer said--these days I have to be very careful how I approach true stories of this type. I trust from your review that the happy ending (not in the genre romance sense) is well done, and believable?

Dorine said...

This sounds really good. Putting it on my wish list to watch for.

Keira Soleore said...

@Azteclady: It's not a happy ending per se, as in the two get together. Their life trajectories meet over the well of water in her village. It's happy for him, because he gets to give back to his country for the wonderful life he eventually led in America. She gets life-giving, CLEAN water for which she doesn't have to walk all day.

It's a tough pair of stories.

Keira Soleore said...

@Dorine, hope it brings you as much heartfelt appreciation of the stories as I felt when I read them.