What Is the What

This book will change your life. Ehm, that might be a bit exaggerated, but you will never ever forget this story. A word of warning, it is not a cheerful book.

When you start reading this book (and you really have to) it is advisable to put it away once in a while (if you can). At those times you have to remember that beautiful things do happen in this world. What is the What is based on the life of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He managed to emigrate to the US via the Lost Boys of Sudan Program and the story will take off here.

Being able to build a new life in the US sounds positive, but again few good things happen. The story starts when the main character ends up in an anxious situation. Through flashbacks you travel back to Sudan.

The village where young Achak lives with his family is attacked by rebels. In the chaos he loses his family, but he manages to escape. You feel the panic, desperation and fear. Dave Eggers, the writer of the book, captures this oppressive and terrifying feeling throughout the book.

Achak joins a group of young boys who have also escaped. It is unimaginable and incomprehensible what these boys (and also girls) have endured. Achak continues to hope for a better life. A good meal, a safe bed to sleep in, being surrounded by friends and family and a real future. It is shocking to read what people do to each other. It is shocking what these children have had to experience. And it is shocking that many children still end up in such situations every day. Achak shows what a survival mechanism these children have and that you do not have to lose your confidence in people. Which in my opinion is a miracle.

In the preface, Valentino Achak Deng explains that he wanted to write the story of his life, but that he is not a writer. It is special that he has found Dave Eggers willing to write this story. It is special that after years of many interviews and intensive contact, Dave Eggers has been able to tell this story. And it is special that the proceeds of this book go to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation to support, among other things, the school in his native village.

Click on What Is the What to buy on The Bookdepository or click on the book below to buy on Amazon.

Share this blog via:

You may also like