Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Say You're One of Them; Uwem Akpan

Author:  Uwem Akpan
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Readers:  (3): Robin Miles, Dion Graham, Kevin Free (all very good)
Edition: audiobook
Source: Library
Date Completed: 5/2012
Rating: 4.5/5
Recommend: yes

Say You're One of Them, is a debut collection of (5) short stories about children growing up in Africa.  Each story tells of life in a different African country: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Benin, Rwanda and Kenya.  Making the stories especially poignant and sad is the fact that each story is told from the eyes of the children.  The stories are not easy to listen to, as some of the topics in these stories have parents who are dying of AIDS, children being sold into slavery, the lives of children as prostitutes, and even children who have had their hands amputated as a penalty for stealing.

Even though, in general, I am not a huge fan of short story collections, this audio book got my full attention.  An eye-opening collection of stories about children whose innocence has been lost, because they were born into a life where poverty, chaos and violence were commonplace.

The writing is vivid and sobering. Despite the despair exhibited through and through, never for a minute did I feel like I needed to stop listening.  The author is a Jesuit priest, who I can only imagine, knows first-hand what he has written about.  If ever for a minute you are feeling sorry for yourself, your situation, or your life, you should read or listen to these stories -- they will make you appreciate your life -- the way it is--a lot more. I know I did.


  1. This book was difficult to read but oh, so important. I'm so glad I read it.

  2. I can imagine that this book will break your heart and make you appreciate all that we have.

  3. I'm not a fan of short stories either, but this one just had me hooked. I listened to the audio, which unfortunately had only three stories, but then I went and picked the book to read the other two. SO glad that you loved it too!

  4. I won a copy of this one from when Oprah showcased it. I forgot I had it. I do that a lot.

  5. I have heard good things about this. I will have to get it at some point!

  6. This does sound like it would twist your heart and make you think, and though I also don't read a lot of short stories, this one is on my list. I do have a copy waiting patiently for me, so I suppose it is only a matter of time until I get to it :)

  7. This was an incredibly intense read. Glad to hear it translated so well in the audio production, too.

  8. I have a copy of this one that I snagged at a book sale. Sounds like it will affect me greatly!

  9. My book club read this one and I missed the meeting so never got around to reading it. It sounds like I will enjoy it once I get to it.


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