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Most Helpful Favorable Review
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.
Awesome book for the classroom!
One of the things that I liked so much about this book is how Enaiatollah's sincerity just flowed right off the pages. I felt as though I was sitting in the same room listening to him tell his story. I also appreciated the life lessons that he learned along the way and his overall lack of bitterness. Don't get me wrong though -- his story is not sugar-coated in any way. He does feel a gamut of emotions, from anger to confusion to desperation, however his ability to experience joy may have been his best coping skill. A couple of the lessons that touched me the most were about the importance of friendship and that something that may seem to be a small act of kindness to me or you could mean the world to someone in need. Although I would love to elaborate, I will hold back so that individual readers can glean their own interpretations from Enaiatollah's experiences.
In the Sea There are Crocodiles is a very quick read, partly because of its short length, but mostly due to its tight grip on the reader from start to finish. I really think this book would be very valuable in the educational setting; it would make a great summer-reading assignment and surely evoke some insightful essays from students! (It should also remind students how fortunate they are to have the freedom to attend school rather than work 14 hour days in a stone factory!) I am confident that Elaiatollah's story will touch many, many readers. I will be recommending it to my family and friends.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of In the Sea There are Crocodiles from the publisher which has in no way influenced my review.
posted by TemeculaMomma on July 2, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.
posted by sarahbrooke37 on February 27, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 30, 2011
A beautiful story that left me wanting a little bit more
When I saw Fabio Geda's In The Sea There Are Crocodiles on the shelf it attracted me for two reasons. The striking cover design by Edel Rodriquez alone was enough to convince me to pick it up; once it was in my hands, the story did the rest. Anyone with an interest in those heart-wrenching, inspirational stories of ordinary people overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds would enjoy this novel based on the life of Enaiatollah Akbari, an Afghan boy who escaped the horrors of the Taliban and fled through four countries before finding peace in Italy. Geda writes in a simple, straightforward fashion that allows Akbari's story to take the spotlight rather than get lost amidst overly descriptive and embellished writing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
As I read In The Sea There Are Crocodiles, I could almost picture Akbari and Geda sitting at a table, discussing Akbari's journey over a cup of tea and a few cookies. Akbari seems to fly through five countries in the span of a week because he is so sparse with detail; it was hard to believe his ordeal was five years long. It is obvious that these experiences have made an impact on Akbari that are so strong he barely has words for them. Geda feeds off Akbari's reluctance to delve into details by painting a picture of Enaiatollah as a forgiving and strong young boy wise beyond his years. While this style was an interesting way to tell Akbari's incredulous tale in a manner that wasn't too over-the-top, it did leave me wanting a little bit more.
One of the main points that Akbari makes as he describes his experiences is that there is no need to go into detail about the people he encountered or the places in which he lived - they existed in that particular point in his story, and that was that. As Akbari explained, "It's what happened to you that changes your life, not where or who with." This is certainly an admirable point of view to take on life, especially when you are a fifteen-year-old boy recounting your five-year search through city slums, snow-capped mountains, and migrant hostels for a safe place to call home. And yet, this lack of focus on intimate details made it hard for me to truly connect with anyone besides Akbari himself. I wanted to so badly to care for Sufi, Akbari's comrade in Pakistan who stuck by him during their dangerous journey into Iran, or the Grecian woman who found Akbari sleeping in her garden and gave him food, clothing, and money for a train ticket. But Sufi gradually fizzles out without even a goodbye, and the kind old woman is only afforded three paragraphs. A major reason why Akbari was able to make it to safety in Italy was due to the sometimes unbelievable kindness of family, friends, and strangers. Akbari in no way undermines this kindness by being reluctant to talk about these individuals - his gratefulness is evident in his few words - but I wonder if Geda could have done a little digging himself to provide the connections that Akbari shied away from.
In The Sea There Are Crocodiles represents not only Akbari but all the young children of Afghanistan and the neighboring Middle Eastern countries that face violence and poverty every day. For a book that only takes a few hours to read, it speaks quite powerfully about love, courage, and friendship - attributes on which any ordinary reader can always afford to reflect.
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