Monday, October 29, 2012

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True StoryThis book is based on a true story, set in 1985 wartime Sudan, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. The main plot of the book follows a Dinka boy named Salva  as he is forced to flee from his school when rebels attack. It's not safe to return to his village, so he starts heading east. His journey takes him through lion territory, across a desert, and over the Nile River. He finds danger from wild animals, rebel attacks, heat, and thirst. He hopes to find his family someday, but he's focused on surviving right now.

In a shorter subplot, set in 2008 Sudan, a Nuer girl named Nya walks four hours, twice each day, to get water for her family. The family is forced to move for three months each year when the water source dries up. However, one day two strange men arrive and start digging a hole into the dry ground near Nya's home. Who are these men, and what are they doing? The two plots are woven together to come to one peaceful resolution.

The book was written similar to a memoir, but I think I would have liked it better if it had been written in first person, from Nya's and Salva's points of view. The narrator let us know their thoughts and feelings, but I didn't make a connection with the characters that I might have made if the stories had been told through their own eyes. The stories of Nya and Salva were more interesting when I remembered that the Dinkas and Nuers had been enemies for hundreds of years.

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