It took me but a weekend to read Say You're One of Them, a collection of stories written by Uwem Akpan, S.J., and featured as a Oprah's Book Club selection, but much longer to process. Working with children in urban schools, who are faced with myriad difficulties, it takes a lot to unnerve me. This haunting collection, however, left me rattled.
Unlike many stories told by children, but written by adults, each of the stories in this collection feels authentic. Civil wars, child prostitution and enslavement, disease and bitter religious battles unfold before the reader. Shared from the viewpoint of children, these unspeakable realities feel at once accessible and unfathomable. "How could this be happening to a child?" I kept asking myself, and then, "How could this be happening at all?" Akpan's masterful ability to tell a story in a child's voice lends grit and gravity to storylines that are already quite gritty and grave.
His ability to shape a character soRead More »from A gripping read: Say You're One of Them