May I say that this story, "My Parents' Bedroom," the final story in Say You're One of Them, is perhaps the most heartbreaking, if you can compare heartbreaks. I've read a lot of stories and books and articles and seen documentaries (the Frontline documentary on the genocide in Rwanda being one of the best I've ever seen) but this story really pierced the interior of my being.
I have to say all the stories that I've read did not, and were not, spoken from the voices of children. The first paragraph of "My Parents' Bedroom" begins:
"I'm nine years and seven months old. I'm at home playing peekaboo in my room with my little brother, Jean. It's Saturday evening, and the sun has fallen behind the hills. There's silence outside our bungalow, but from time to time the evening wind carries a shout to us. Our parents have kept us indoors since yesterday."
So there begins the story that so many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Rwandans also experienced that April 1994, just before the
Blog Posts by Oprah Winfrey
May I say that this story, "My Parents' Bedroom," the final story in Say You're One of Them, is perhaps the most heartbreaking, if you can compare heartbreaks. I've read a lot of stories and books and articles and seen documentaries (the Frontline documentary on the genocide in Rwanda being one of the best I've ever seen) but this story really pierced the interior of my being.Read More »from "My Parents' Bedroom"
So this is so interesting. This story, "Luxurious Hearses" in Say You're One of Them, is the longest story in the book, and believe me, you are going to be tempted to end this story because it is like being on that frickin' bus, let me tell ya. After a while, you just want to get off the bus, and there are so many crazy people on the bus you're like, "Okay, can the bus get moving already?"Read More »from "Luxurious Hearses"
But really as you continue to read, you understand that story is so much deeper than that…it's about the conflicts and prejudices that we all hold against each other, the way we define ourselves and define other people and judge other people. And the fact that you have this Muslim boy who's trying to hide that he is Muslim on this bus of all Christians, and what happens when the Christian people discover that he is Muslim is shocking.
Now, originally when I read this story I thought that this is why the book is called Say You're One of Them, and you will probably be tempted to say the same thing,
Hello, everybody. Happy reading to you.Read More »from "What Language Is That?"
We are continuing on to the third story in Say You're One of Them, and it's called "What Language Is That?" Everybody knows I have a best friend, but anybody who's had a best friend knows that there is a special language between friends, and this story I just appreciated so much because I had never actually thought about the unspoken language between friends.
By the time you finish reading this story, you'll be thinking about the language that you have between your own friends, your own children, your own intimate relationships, either with your partner or people you care about. We all have that language, even when we aren't speaking, and that really was what the essence of this story was to me. Even when you're not allowed to verbally articulate what your heart wants to say, your heart still speaks louder than anything you know.
Find out more about "Say You're One of Them" and Oprah's Book Club on oprah.com.
"Fattening for Gabon." Now this is the turning point story in this book for me. This is THE turning point story.Read More »from "Fattening for Gabon"
I have done over the years… I would have to say countless stories about child sex trafficking. I have done them with people who are known like Ricky Martin. I've done them with Nicholas Kristof from The New York Times. I've done many, many, many, many, many stories and read newspaper articles and really given a lot of thought to the child sex trade industry. Never have I been affected by the humanity of the children the way I was by this story, "Fattening for Gabon." It was just really searing.
It was searing, and I couldn't believe it. The end of the story… May I just say the end of the story, the very last line of story, is what prompted me to choose this as a Book Club selection. I finished reading that story and I was in disbelief. I won't give away the ending if you haven't read the ending yet, but I had to talk to somebody else who had read the story! And I didn't
My newest Book Club selection is "Say You're One of Them" by Uwem Akpan. Usually, short stories leave me wanting more, but every single story in this collection left me gasping and profoundly moved. When you read it, you'll understand why I had to choose this book.Read More »from "An Ex-Mas Feast"
If you are just on the first story, "An Ex-Mas Feast," first of all, I think you should read them in order, don't skip around on other stories.
So, beginning with the "Ex-Mas Feast," this little family not just broke my heart but opened my heart in a way that I never thought a prostitute would. I've interviewed a lot of prostitutes over the years and I never thought of prostitutes having a family. But by the time I finished this story, I have to tell you, I will never see a prostitute on the street, no matter if it's Vegas or Africa, and feel the same. I will always look at the prostitute from now on and wonder, "What is her backstory?"
I will think of the character Maisha and her bringing in the bags of groceries for her