Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2011
This is a raw account of wickedness and brutality visited on a 12 year old girl and her cousins during the (un)civil war in Sierra Leone. How she was able to recover from this is hard to understand. All the more horrifying when we discover that the 'soldiers' who maimed her and killed and maimed many others in her village were 'child' soldiers. Similar age to herself, but fired by drugs and evil. Many years ago I crossed the land border from Zaire into Uganda during an overland journey and was very nervous not to catch the eye of any of the Ugandan boy-soldier border guards who searched our truck.
This account from Sierra Leone shows just how easily the shell of civilisation is shattered and people act out unimaginable wickedness against their follow men. The depths of depravity seem fathomless. That Mariatu survived all that was visited upon her is thanks to the intervention and help of strangers and her extended family.
The story is told in very simple language which makes it all the more vivid with one caveat. The North Americanisms with which it is peppered do not ring true. Phrases and metaphors used grate and detract from the simplicity of the story. I suppose some of this was inevitable as the co-author Susan McClelland is a Canadian journalist and so the story comes to us through two pairs of eyes. I just wish an editor had intervened to ensure that the authentic voice of Mariatu Kamara was more dominant throughout.