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Saturday, January 26, 2008

What is the What

What Is The What
Dave Eggers

The last two weeks I've spent reading this book have been nothing short of eye-opening. What is the What is by far one of the most memorable reads I have had in quite some time. Eggers tells the story of Valentino Achack Deng, beginning with his current living situation in America, but more importantly how he came to be a U.S. citizen. Forced from his hometown of Marial Bai, a small town in southern Sudan, Achack quickly finds himself alone in search of a new beginning. Unaware that civil war has broken out in Sudan, or genocide is underway by hands of his own government, Achack is soon joined by thousands of other "Lost Boys" all seeking shelter where there simply is none. It seems there is no escape from the bloodshed, no refuge for the thousands of now homeless Sudanese, and simply not nearly enough food or water to go around. Even in the "safety" of the refugee camps, food remains scarce, and the violence still ensues. Eventually, Deng does find refuge in America, only to discover that even in "paradise" there is violence and prejudice lingering around every turn. Sadly, he realizes he is searching for hope in a seemingly hopeless world, but more importantly he never gives up.

I could go on and on about this book, and would still not cover it all. I honestly feel you owe it to yourself to read this book. In my opinion, the best part about this book is how educating it is about the current situation in Africa. Unfortunately, I was mostly unaware of what was going on in places like Sudan, Darfur, and most recently Kenya before reading What is the What. Thats the beauty of this book, it leaves you wanting to know more. Why is this happening? Who is responsible, and most importantly, HOW CAN I HELP? Sadly, the media does a poor job informing the public about the conflict in Africa, however, Eggers does a marvelous job telling not only Achack's story, but the story of so many in Africa over the last few decades.

I am also compelled to tell you that all the profits from this book are put back into the Valentino Achack Deng Foundation. After fleeing his home and family over twenty years ago, Achack just recently returned for the first time to reunite with all that he was forced to leave so long ago. With the proceeds, he broke ground on a new school that is scheduled to be finished sometime this year.

-Check out Eggers' reading
-Find Out More at The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation
(and check out their projects and videos)


Caroline said...

Jake Rocks...

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline said...

Did you see this?

What do you think? Maybe we could do some sort of event like this that promotes the cause and the book at the building? If not exactly like this maybe we could get some of the Sudanese refugees in Jackson to come...