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But Darling has a chance to escape: She has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few.
NoViolet Bulawayo's debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her - from Zadie Smith to Monica Ali to J.M. Coetzee - while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.
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By FanB14 on 06-10-13
African Girl Does US
Born in Africa, Darling and family live in paucity; no shoes or food. Stealing guavas and occasionally breaking in homes to raid fridges, siblings are relatively happy with each other. In hopes of a better future, Darling moves to Detroit with relatives and finds a blustery winter with plenty of food, school, and work opportunities.
No new names presents no new information and didn't draw me in as a reader. The writing is a singular narrative, choppy and uneven, with no real point. The book is akin to opening an ordinary girl's journal and reading haphazard entries devoid of profound meaning, lacking purpose or excitement.
If you choose to listen to this one, expect a realistic, but bland journey of an African girl's assimilation to current day American culture.
Seeking well-written, gritty, emotionally gut wrenching drama? Download, "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave or "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah for good reads. Volumes of more poignant tales of poverty and perseverance surrounding African culture are readily available elsewhere. Save your credit.
20 of 25 people found this review helpful
By KP on 12-22-14
First part is best
While the writing was often beautiful, this book fell flat, in my opinion. I couldn’t care very much about the main character. Perhaps I did in the beginning, but she and her story became less interesting to me as the book went along. Perhaps it’s because I felt the author was trying to make her story TOO much about the recent history of Zimbabwe and not enough of a novel. The characters all became archetypes of the various problems that immigrants face. First, there was the harsh life in Africa, then there were the harsh realities of trying to fit in to American life, and finally there came the realization that in many ways immigrants can never fit in to the new country, but they can never go home, either.
I thought the first half of the book was more compelling. In the middle there was a section that was told in the first person plural, like the book about Japanese picture brides, The Buddha in the Attic. That approach is really unsuccessful, in my opinion. It removes the reader from the action, and just seems preachy or false.
I’m sure that one is supposed to feel pity for the main character and sympathize with her, and I do feel sad about all the harsh circumstances. Somehow, other books with similar situations have managed to pull me in more than this one, however.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful