The Girl Who Smiled Beads

The Girl Who Smiled Beads

A Story of War and What Comes After

eBook - 2018
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"The plot provided by the universe was filled with starvation, war and rape. I would not--could not--live in that tale."

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 migrating 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 refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of "victim" and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.
Publisher: New York : Crown/Archetype, 2018.
ISBN: 9780451495341
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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lola_jane
May 28, 2018

Clemantine was just six when she and her 15-year old sister were forced to flee the massacre in Rwanda. For six years they were repeatedly displaced through Africa, migrating through seven countries until they attained refugee status in the USA. Clemantine's story is harrowing, perhaps more so because we see these experiences through the eyes of a child who does not fully understand the political situation or events. Her memories focus on the most simple of human survival needs and the innocent whims of a child. The memoir is told in alternating chapters - between Clemantine's experience in Africa and life as a refugee in the USA. The alternating timeline helps to show how childhood trauma shapes who she is and influences her worldview, despite a life of relative privilege and comfort in the USA.

Clemantine's story is hard to put down and provides much to think about on the topics of genocide, forgiveness, and family.

m
Mya614
May 23, 2018

Loved this book, but couldn't get a strong connection with the author at times. Wish it would go into more detail about the countries they fled too as it felt a lot was left out.

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Mya614
May 23, 2018

Mya614 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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