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Posted June 8, 2014
June 4th, 2014 Bamboo People Book Review By Palma Piccinino Bamb
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Bamboo People Book Review
By Palma Piccinino
Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins is a novel that is divided into two different sections. The novel focuses on the personal stories of certain individuals that are revolved around the war/resistance between Burma and the Karenni tribe. The first section is about the boys training and preparing to become part of the Burmese army. The section second is coming from the opposite perspective, the Karenni tribe. These sections are connected because Tu Reh, a Karenni, finds an injured boy from Burma and decides to save him.
Although Bamboo People was initially enticing, as the book progressed, I found myself less interested in the novel for several reasons.
In better description, section 1 is about a boy named Chiko, whose father was captured by the government for resistance. Chiko understands that he needs to support his mot\her, so he goes to what he thinks is a teaching interview. Little does he know, it is actually a trick, and Chiko along with many other young males are sent to a camp to train to become a Burmese soldier. At camp, Chiko meets a boy named Tai, who used to live in the streets. Tai and Chiko become a great duo since Tai teaches Chiko to be tough and Chiko teaches Tai to write. They are separated when Chiko is told he needs to go spy on the Karenni to see how much supplies and weaponry they had. This is when section two begins.
When section two begins, Chiko is injured and Tu Reh, a Karenni, makes the decision to save him. The second section leads us through the life of Tu Reh and his family. This book has several weaknesses but it also has several strengths. One disappointment of the book is the abrupt separation between the two sections. The sections did not seem to flow very well and this made the second section a bit more confusing. Another fault is Chiko and Tu Reh’s relationship. They never form a strong relationship and this may be the intention, but it makes for an uninteresting story.
One strength of the book is the focus on Chiko and Tai’s relationship. They develop an almost unbreakable bond. It is very interesting to see how much they complement each other as individuals. They make a wonderful and strong team. Another positive of the book has is showing Chiko and Tai growing as people. The first section included many details about their progression. Chiko is learning to become stronger, physically and mentally because of Tai. Tai is learning to write and he is becoming more intelligent every day.
The genre of the novel is a mixture between fiction, adventure and war. Anyone who is interested in adventure and war novels should definitely look into this book. In regards to difficulty and appropriate reading age for this novel, I would recommend anybody ages 13 (8th grade) and upwards. Either gender would enjoy this novel equally.
Mitali Bose Perkins was born in Calcutta, India. Mitali studied political science at Stanford University and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, surviving academia thanks to a steady diet of kids' books from public libraries and bookstores, and went on to teach middle school, high school, and college students. Mitali Perkins does not have any awards to this day? She is praised for her brilliant and focused writing. Other books by this author include: Rickshaw Girl, Monsoon Summer, The Sunita Experiment and more. There are no other books in this series. Perkins has actually led a very eventful life. She has lived in many different places. She lived in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and California with her husband and twin sons before the Perkins family moved to Newton, Massachusetts, where they currently live. They claim to be settled in as of now.
All in all, yes, I would recommend his novel. I would specifically recommend the first section as I find the second section somewhat unnecessary. The first section is very enticing, detailed and interesting to read. The second section I would not recommend reading because it seems a bit random even though it is loosely connected to the first section. The first section was a “page-turner” and I never found myself bored reading it. I tended to skim the second section as I found myself quickly losing interst. I would give section one a 4/5 stars and section two a 2/5 stars. Overall, the book would earn 3/5 stars. In my opinion, the book in entirety is a quality book to read for school purposes but I would not read it in my free time. The book was average and I did not love it, but I did not dislike it either.
Although section one of The Bamboo People was very enticing, the second section was poorly executed. The ideas in section two were weak and confusing. That being said, I did enjoy the dynamics and perspective that section two incorporated. Section one was coming from the perspective of the Burmese. Section two was coming from the perspective of the Karenni tribe. This gave readers the perspective of both sides, which can be a great idea as long as it is properly executed. The lesson of the story is that if you have a strong friendship, you can get through anything.