Say You're One of Them

Uwem Akpan s stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers will feel they ve ever encountered Africa so immediately The eight year old narrator of An Ex Mas Feast needs only enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school Even when his twelve year old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds,Uwem Akpan s stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers will feel they ve ever encountered Africa so immediately The eight year old narrator of An Ex Mas Feast needs only enough money to buy books and pay fees in order to attend school Even when his twelve year old sister takes to the streets to raise these meager funds, his dream can t be granted Food comes first His family lives in a street shanty in Nairobi, Kenya, but their way of both loving and taking advantage of each other strikes a universal chord In the second of his stories published in a New Yorker special fiction issue, Akpan takes us far beyond what we thought we knew about the tribal conflict in Rwanda The story is told by a young girl, who, with her little brother, witnesses the worst possible scenario between parents They are asked to do the previously unimaginable in order to protect their children This singular collection will also take the reader inside Nigeria, Benin, and Ethiopia, revealing in beautiful prose the harsh consequences for children of life in Africa Akpan s voice is a literary miracle, rendering lives of almost unimaginable deprivation and terror into stories that are nothing short of transcendent.
Say You re One of Them Uwem Akpan s stunning stories humanize the perils of poverty and violence so piercingly that few readers will feel they ve ever encountered Africa so immediately The eight year old narrator of An Ex M

  • Title: Say You're One of Them
  • Author: Uwem Akpan
  • ISBN: 9780316113786
  • Page: 337
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Say You're One of Them”

    1. It's difficult to justify giving this book five stars as there are so many problems with it. But to give it less would not acknowledge that its flaws and difficulties are outweighed by how it opens your eyes, gives you clear vision into things you didn't even know you'd been shortsighted about before.Firstly, two of the stories are novellas of considerable length and extremely difficult to read. This is because, in an effort to give local flavour to the dialogue, letters are transposed, French w [...]

    2. I'm so angry with this book I could spit. I can't even rate it, I'm so angry with it.I certainly would never recommend it (even though I think everyone should read it).It is an important book to read.I'm glad I read it even though it was the most horrific, awful, despairing, bleak, pessimistic, horrific, sad thing I've read sinceever.Glad is not the right word; not at all the right word. All those other words are right.5=amazing?1=did not like it?Yes. Both.You can't like this; how can anyone LIK [...]

    3. Onvan : Say You're One of Them - Nevisande : Uwem Akpan - ISBN : 316113786 - ISBN13 : 9780316113786 - Dar 358 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2008

    4. Stories of abused and battered children in Africa are legion, but few cut as close to the bone as this collection by Uwem Akpan. His five tales, two of which are novella length, are told with the uninhibited, truth-filled voices of the children involved. Each one takes place in a different country but the theme is universal: the biggest challenge faced by children in Africa is staying alive.Akpan, a Jesuit priest with an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, piles on details a [...]

    5. This isn't a work to which I can assign stars- it would be like ranking tourist visits to concentration camps- this one was more interesting, that one was more intact, the other had the best museum shop, when in fact they are all horrific and unforgettable. To further the analogy, reading Uwem Akpan was like reading Elie Wiesel- devastating and heartbreaking, with details as vivid and palpable as yesterday. The difference is that decades of history and a Western world romance with WWII have almo [...]

    6. I decided to read this book because of popular review. People loved it. Time loved it. Essence loved it. Entertainment Weekly loved it. Maybe I should have checked my sources--all owned by Time Inc. (duh)--but I figured that a book generating this much positive press would be worth reading.I won't go back on this opinion--it was worth reading. It was as about worth reading as most other books I have read: nothing spectacular, but not a waste of my time, either. What seemed wasteful in Akpan's bo [...]

    7. Uwem Akpan graphically portrays horrendous conditions in several African countries -- child trafficking; prostitution; rape; murder, religious conflict; Sharia-mandated amputations; starvation; etc. These stories are no doubt grounded in fact, but two defects in the collection detract from its potential power. First, the various narrators describe terrible circumstances in such a detached reportorial, matter-of-fact way that the lack of emotional engagement has the unfortunate effect of disengag [...]

    8. Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan Tragic, frustrating, majestic, bewildering are all words I would use to describe this short story collection. I have never read so many sad tales that did not come out of Russian literature. This collection is breathtaking in so many ways that mere words do no justice. Akpan is a true artist that paints with words a world so tragically wrong that it bothers you to your core. To know that such a world exists shames us all. Yet the writing is so beautiful tha [...]

    9. This cover has one of the most beautiful photos - I kept seeing it in the bookshop, picking it up and dithering but ultimately putting it down again. In the end, a few people on got me interested in it - they were talking about how it was the latest book in Oprah's book club but that they'd read the sample story and it was so depressing and they didn't want to read something that upset them.That actually made me want to read it. I want to be confronted, to be challenged, to be emotionally invol [...]

    10. This book brought me to tears, multiple times. I actually had to put a little bit of distance in between finishing it and reviewing it. The author, Uwem Akpan, wrote these stories to draw attention to the children of Africa and the struggles they face. It is tempting to dismiss it as merely fiction, to reassure myself that people surely do not live this way, but I know too much of the reality to be able to do so. The stories themselves are fiction of course, but pull from very real events. I wou [...]

    11. I think the point of the book was to leave you unsettled, to make you feel and empathize with characters in which our western culture individuals will probably never meet. I absolutely love books that dive into other cultures, religions and social systems. I love Africa and used to believe my calling in life was to minister to HIV/AIDS orphans, so I greatly educated myself and began writing every paper and project I could on the injustices engulfing Africa. But this book to me, was a major disap [...]

    12. What I learned from this book is that I need to know more about the history and political situation in Africa. Akpan has a gift for writing from the viewpoint of children who suffer due to poverty and violence. It is my fault, not his, that I didn't understand these stories better. I am somewhat familiar with the terrible violence that has occurred in Rwanda due to tribal conflict. Thus the story, "My Parent's Bedroom", was very clear to me. It was also terribly frightening. The first story I re [...]

    13. Say You’re One of Them is a heartbreaking collection of short stories (or, rather, two novellas and three short stories), each set in a different country in Africa. A champion of children, Uwem's collection shines a clear light on the harsh realities of life for many African kids.In each of these stories, innocence collides with corruption. Set in Benin, “Fattening for Gabon” depicts an uncle who, as the guardian of two AIDS orphans, plans to sell his young charges into slavery. In “An E [...]

    14. Even as one who has spent considerable time in Africa, "in the trenches," so to speak, one who has many African friends, I cannot say that I truly understand Africans. Their different ways of thinking, their cultures, their perceptions, often leave me, a white Western woman, bewildered and exasperated. Should I spend the remainder of my life among them, I believe I would always be aware of the vast gulf of understanding that stands between us and my own ingrained and presumptive Western ideologi [...]

    15. Heart-wrenching stories on Africa's issues of poverty, religious and sectarian conflicts among others told by children. Uwem Akpan wants the world to listen to these children, who are not only represent their countries and continent but to all children in the world who deserve sanctuary and safe haven. Depressive but necessary read. Highly recommended.***Ada lima cerita tentang beragam konflik dan masalah di Afrika yang disampaikan oleh anak-anak. Saat kebobrokan kemanusiaan diceritakan dengan n [...]

    16. Again, I am cheating because I gave up on this book even though I marked it "read." These short stories are set somewhere in Africa, current time, and the horrors children face are depressing. The first story is about a family living under a tarp behind a store. One daughter is selling herself on the street to earn money to send her younger brother to school. He sniffs glue to keep from feeling hungry. The writing is difficult to read not only for content but structure. The second story is about [...]

    17. Confession (i don't mean to use that term ironically at all--this book was written by a Jesuit priest!): i did not read the final story because i had read it when it was published in a literary magazine some years ago. And honestly i've had it with this bookhis writing is almost too powerful and the stories were almost too stressful for me. I can't believe this is a debut collection. I fear his next book but will likely be one of the first to snatch it up.

    18. Uwem Akpan is a man acquainted with grief. He is a Jesuit priest from Nigeria, and these stories, all beautifully written from the point of view of children, are intended to help people see that "the situation of Africa is very urgent."That is putting it mildly. It took me months to finish this book; for long stretches of time I became reluctant to pick it up again. The violence in the stories is as or more brutal than any I've read. But it is very far from the gratuitous pap that is fed to us i [...]

    19. This is one of those books that sucker punch the reader, a blow for each of the five stories,all the more devastating because I really wanted to be friends. UA is a very good,confident writer and his words carry some weight. He is not a tourist nor an academic,not a journalist,and certainly no thrill seeking adventurer. His empathy is boundless, and he has sharpened his perceptions to include the grubby details that bring the stories to vivid life. I was prepared for them to be somewhat bleak,gi [...]

    20. And now I know a lot more about Africa Possibly more than I wanted to, but certainly not more than I needed to. This book needed to be written, but I've never been so happy to reach the END of a book.These stories are the epitome of tragic, and disturbing, yet I kept reading with one eye closed, knowing how they would end, because I felt like I owed it to them. This book makes you feel exposed and ashamed of the spoiled society we live in, and MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, sir, because it's clear this w [...]

    21. There are touching moments and very realistic moments in these stories. However, even though the subject of the horrors in the lives of children in Africa is good and topical, I found the stories hard to follow sometimes with broken English and actions that don't necessarily follow the dialogue. I also don't like tales without any kind of positives or potential redemption or solutions to problems. Please leave us with a tiny bit of hope.

    22. Yes, everyone should read this book, but I do not want to make others suffer as I did while I read it, so I will not recommend it.

    23. just picked up from the library.Read the three short-ish ones and they, particularly 'My Parent's Bedroom' have knocked me down with their powerter: still reeling from this one. He's not the greatest writer in the world - the three short pieces are superbly done, but the longer pieces - novellas really - are too long, repetitive, relying on exposition too much. But that doesn't seem to matter, you forget the difficulties of dealing with the odd dialects, French and 'African' English because ever [...]

    24. This book is exhausting to read. It pulls you in every direction. The lives of the children you witness through the writing are horrendous and the acts they see and decisions they have to make are unimaginable. From that perspective - the one of emotional involvement with the protagonists, I would give it a straight five stars. However, there are a few things I felt detracted from the stories - hence my slightly lower rating. Firstly, I struggled with the level of dialect in the dialogues. While [...]

    25. It wasn't until I read the afterward that I noticed that all of the stories in this book where written from the perspective of children. I'm not really sure how I missed that. And in each story, the ending is hard to take. Incredibly hard.The first two stories surprised me with a new way of looking at a topic: I hadn't really though about a child choosing a brothel because she thinks it would be better than streetwalking or that children sold into slavery would spend so long being prepped for th [...]

    26. Akpan is a Nigerian-born Jesuit priest who got a MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. The book which includes 3 short stories and 2 novellas focuses on the plight of children in Africa. Ethnic and religious strife and ethnic cleansing are themes throughout. Poverty compels one teen into prostitution. The novella Fattening for Gabon addresses child slavery through the eyes of two children who have no idea that their "uncle's" plan is to sell them. They have been orphaned by AIDS [...]

    27. Despite of the horrors happening to the children in the short stories of this book, I couldn't stop reading - Uwem Akpan marvelously depicts life in his homeland Nigeria and other African countries and for the first time I was exposed to such accurate descriptions of child prostitution, children being sold into slavery by their own relatives or tribal and religious violence dividing families, and all that told from the point of view of children who are so positive, strong and brave that one can' [...]

    28. Here I go again. Another book I want to turn away from but just can't. I bought the book in a hospital bookstore, because it looked interesting and because it had several stories in it so it would be a good "waiting room" book.I managed to finish the first story, An Exmas feast, before I was called in for my medical appointment. This story literally turned my stomach. By the time I was called in to my appointment I was so relieved that cancer was my biggest problem. I should recommend this book [...]

    29. I decided to try some of the Oprah Book club selections because I looked at the list and saw a number of books I really liked such as Anna Karenina, Faulkner's Light in August, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, etc. This is the current selection.The stories in this book are really good, though heartrending. The author has told all of them through the eyes of children, giving an unsentimental, matter-of-fact realism to them that reminds me of "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich". This has [...]

    30. I didn't mean to buy a book today, but picked up a copy of this stunner in Costco. Written by a Nigerian Jesuit priest, this book contains 5 stories. By chance, I opened the final story (My Parents' Bedroom: less than 30 pages)& began to skim a page. The narrator is a little girl. Within a couple of minutes, I cared about her & was worried. I wanted a couple more pages to find a good stopping point. After standing rooted for about 10 more minutes, I realized that I was holding this book [...]

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