A riveting story of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us.Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were "thunder." In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety--perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted asylum in the United States, where she embarked on another journey--to excavate her past and, after years of being made to feel less than human, claim her individuality.Raw, urgent, and bracingly original, The Girl Who Smiled Beads captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever destroyed; what can be repaired; the fragility of memory; the disorientation that comes of other people seeing you only as broken--thinking you need, and want, to be saved. But it is about more than the brutality of war. It is about owning your experiences, about the life we create: intricately detailed, painful, beautiful, a work in progress....
|Title||:||The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After|
|Number of Pages||:||288 pages|
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The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After Reviews
Back in 2014 I heard Clemantine speak in Washington DC at a summit on girls + women in Africa which was sponsored by the ONE Campaign and Google. The event itself and the stories presented were profoundly moving and educational. When I was offered an opportunity to receive an advance copy of this book I jumped at the chance to get to go deeper into Clemantine's story and I think this book is a must read. It's a hard, raw read and one that is super important for all of us as human beings. It's a ...more
There's no doubt that Wamariya's journey has been challenging and incredible, and I appreciate the searing emotional rawness in which it is told. However, the chosen presentation made engaging with the material very difficult at times. I would have preferred it if the story had been told in a linear fashion rather than jumping back and forth in time; there needed to be no narrative tricks at play here for the tale to make an impact. Upon seeing the timeline at the beginning of each chapter, I of ...more
The Nobel Peace Prize winning author and Holocaust survivor, Elie Weisel, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006 where Oprah played clips from an interview they had done on site at Auschwitz. In addition, on the same episode, Oprah was recognizing fifty winners of a high school essay contest who had written about Elie Weisel’s Night and its’ current day relevance. Clemantine Wamariya was one of the winners and was called up on stage to talk with Oprah. Clemantine was a Rwandan refugee who, a ...more
The word genocide is clinical, overly general, bloodless and dehumanising. "Oh, its like that holocaust?" people would say to me - say to me still....more
To this day I do not know how to respond and be polite.
No, I want to scream, it's not like the Holocaust. Or the killing fields in Cambodia. Or ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. There's no catchall term that proves you understand.
There's no label to peel and stick that absolves you, shows you've done your duty, you've completed the moral project of rem
This book was very good. It's a haunting tale of one women's survival during the Rwandan genocide. I'd suggest reading this in as few sittings as you could to follow the story along well and get its full impact. Does a wonderful job of showing the world's juxtapositions...the world is both a beautiful place and it's not. The world is both an awful place and it's not. This author is the same age as me, and it's insane to think how when I was growing up totally unaware of this tragedy on the other ...more
First I would like to thank Crown Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I know this looks like a low rating, but I really did enjoy this book and find it very interesting. The writing style is what brought the book down for me, I wasn't a fan of how the story would jump around a bit from one time period to the text. For some reason I just couldn't get myself into this book. I do recommend this book, it was a beautiful survival and strength st ...more
The Girl Who Smiled Beads was one of my April Book of the Month selections and it came with rave reviews. The story is told in alternating timelines (Clemantine and Claire’s time as refugees and their later childhood / early adulthood in the U.S.) and the refugee portion is as heart-wrenching as you’d expect. What they went through is appalling. However, the U.S. portion was incredibly intriguing to me as Clemantine struggled with her conflicted feelings about her identity and the help she recei ...more
Clemantine Wamariya's memoir attempts to put her experiences into words. For some of these experiences there are no words, they are so horrific and profound. At six years old, she and her fifteen year old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next seven years on their own searching for safety through seven African countries.
This book puts a human story on those facts and figures we read about, when we see stories and photos about detention camps, refugees and immigrants who ar ...more