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Month in review

Reviews:
All Meat Looks Like South America by Bruce McCall
Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
The Black Island by Georges Remi Hergé
The Blues of Flats Brown by Walter Dean Myers
The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew #3) by Carolyn Keene
The Cave by Steve McGill
Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin Jr. and Lois Ehlert
A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
Duck in a Truck by Jez Alborough
Enemies and Allies by Kevin J. Anderson
Frozen Tears by Mary Ann MacAfee
Haven Stones: The Last Unicorn by Richard Carbajal
Humanism for Parents — Parenting without Religion by Sean Curley
Hurricane by Arnaldo Ricciulli
I Spy Christmas by Jean Marzollo
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
Immortality Inc. by Robert Sheckley
Mars: The Red Planet by Isaac Asimov
Monsters! Draw Your Own Mutants, Freaks & Creeps by Jay Stephens
North from Calcutta by Duane Evans
Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors by Carolyn Rubenstein
Read Me edited by Gaby Morgan
Resonance by A. J. Scudiere
Right to Remain Silent by Penny Warner
Sahwira: An African Friendship by Carolyn Marsden
The Shining by Stephen King
Son of the Great River by Elijah Meeks
The Sun by Ralph Winrich
Swann's Way by Marcel Proust
That's Not My Dinosaur by Fionna Watt
Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
What the Hell is a Groom and What's He Supposed to Do? by John Mitchell
Wolf Willow by Wallace Stegner
You Suck by Christopher Moore
Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin
Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for Sahwira: An African Friendship

Sahwira   (Link goes to Amazon)Sahwira: An African Friendship: 11/22/09

When the initial uproar over the original cover for Liar was erupting over the book blogosphere I decided to give my library a test. I looked for recently published books for middle grades up through young adults that featured ethnically diverse people on the covers. Two that I picked up from that first test were The Kayla Chronicles (review coming) by Sherri Winston, a book I whole-heartedly recommend and Sahwira: An African Friendship by Carolyn Marsden, a book I could not finish.

Sahwira is based on actual events. Phillip Matzigkeit grew up in the British colony of Rhodesia (now Zimbawe) as the son of Missonary parents. Like his nonfiction inspiration, Evan lives on the mission with his parents and is friends with the local pastor's son, Blessing. He has to find common ground between his life among the blacks with the racism of the white colonists at the all white school he attends. In his free time though, he and Blessing have James Bond inspired adventures and try to build a raft (Huck Finn anyone?).

It's not the events that forced me to put the book aside, but the way in which they are told. First and foremost, there's no life to the book. Everything is told in a bland, emotionless, almost book report style. Secondly there is the Marty-Stu aspect to all the American missionaries. They are just too perfect except that underneath their actions and words is an unspoken but ever present air of superiority. They are always right because they are Americans and they have GOD on their side.

Now the novel is supposed to be told from both boys' points of view. Blessing though doesn't have a unique voice. He gladly pals around with Evan. He never questions anything Evan tells him. He never once in the pages I read shows any glimmer of having a personality outside of whatever attributes Evan and the other white missionaries assign to him.

After twenty four painful to read pages, I started skipping ahead to see if the book got any better. I could see that Evan went on to a boarding school and had even more confrontations with the children of the white colonists with his Marty-Stu superiority. The book ends with a "meaningful" exchange between Evan and Blessing and neither character seems to have grown or learned anything.

The book though has been nominated for a Cybil.

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