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Left to Tell : Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Faith and Prejudice

In 1994, a 22 year old Rwandan native was home from college to enjoy Easter with her family in Mataba. She and her family are devout Catholics and members of a local tribe known as Tutsis. However, the joys of a long awaited visit to home were cut short when th...
In 1994, a 22 year old Rwandan native was home from college to enjoy Easter with her family in Mataba. She and her family are devout Catholics and members of a local tribe known as Tutsis. However, the joys of a long awaited visit to home were cut short when the President of Rwanda, born Hutu, was murdered near the capital city of Kigali. Accusations flew as the entire Tutsi population was blamed and punished for the offense. Genocide, prejudice, and racism became preeminent ways of life for the people of Rwanda as the Tutsi civilians were literally hacked into submission by the Hutu extremists. Left to Tell is a first-hand account of Immaculee Ilibagiza who is one of the few survivors of the Rwandan genocide. From news of sadistic torture and murder surrounding her loved ones to her family to realizing an innate connection with an ever-loving God, Left to Tell teaches the reader two very important lessons. Firstly, Ilibagiza┬┐s description of theatrocities committed towards her people prove how misused governmental influence can drive people of the gentlest nature to hatred and crime. Secondly, her experience with prayer and faith in God proves that we are never alone and that even in the darkest of times you will always have hope. These two elements are perfectly intwined one with another to ultimately prove that unconditional forgiveness can overcome pain and anguish. Through the experiences of this beautiful young women who survived the Rwandan genocide we can learn imperative truths and lessons about life and overcoming adversity.

posted by Anonymous on February 19, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Humbling and Inspiring Story, Inadequate Writing

"Left To Tell" is a firsthand account of the Rwandan genocide as told by the Tutsi Immaculee Ilibagiza. In this brutal yet uplifting story, Ilibagiza relays to the reader her experiences during the Rwandan Genocide, describing the evil, lurid decimation of Rwandan Tutsi...
"Left To Tell" is a firsthand account of the Rwandan genocide as told by the Tutsi Immaculee Ilibagiza. In this brutal yet uplifting story, Ilibagiza relays to the reader her experiences during the Rwandan Genocide, describing the evil, lurid decimation of Rwandan Tutsis by extremist Hutu militants and government. For three months, Ilibagiza found herself forced to live in a minuscule bathroom with six other Tutsi women, surrounded by death and bloodthirstiness. As the Genocide raged around her, annihilating hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and Hutus alike and igniting international wrath, Ilibagiza found solace with God, nourishing her faith and love for God incessantly. This is truly an inspiring account, and enlightening in many ways, not all of them cheerful.
Love of family and of God is the major theme in this book.These themes make up the backbone of Ilibagiza's narrative. I very much liked and enjoyed the way Ilibagiza expressed her love and faith in God; I judged it to be explicitly humble and inspirational. I also liked the fact that Ilibagiza felt brave enough to retell her story to the world; it must have been extremely difficult to do so.
Though "Left To Tell" is extremely uplifting and inspirational, it is inadequately written; I had to force myself more than once to continue to read it. The writing style was wandering and often erratic; This may be because Ilibagiza wrote the book in English rather than her native language and she felt uncomfortable writing the book.
Though I respect the author's experience and even admire her strength, I generally would not recommend reading "Left to Tell" in one's free time; reader, there are much better books to read of similar proportions, such as "The Diary of Anne Frank". However, if you happened to be forced/obliged to read a non-fiction book for your 10th grade English Honors class as I was, I would recommend this book, solely because there are many topics within the novel that make good essay material, such as a discussion on survival in the midst of the Rwandan Genocide, and various other analyses. I would recommend the "Diary of Anne Frank" as an alternative narrative of similar inspiration and love. If I were a professional critic I would give this book a C minus or a 2.5 out of 5.

posted by adamant_g on December 6, 2008

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  • Posted December 6, 2008

    Humbling and Inspiring Story, Inadequate Writing

    "Left To Tell" is a firsthand account of the Rwandan genocide as told by the Tutsi Immaculee Ilibagiza. In this brutal yet uplifting story, Ilibagiza relays to the reader her experiences during the Rwandan Genocide, describing the evil, lurid decimation of Rwandan Tutsis by extremist Hutu militants and government. For three months, Ilibagiza found herself forced to live in a minuscule bathroom with six other Tutsi women, surrounded by death and bloodthirstiness. As the Genocide raged around her, annihilating hundreds of thousands of Tutsis and Hutus alike and igniting international wrath, Ilibagiza found solace with God, nourishing her faith and love for God incessantly. This is truly an inspiring account, and enlightening in many ways, not all of them cheerful.<BR/> Love of family and of God is the major theme in this book.These themes make up the backbone of Ilibagiza's narrative. I very much liked and enjoyed the way Ilibagiza expressed her love and faith in God; I judged it to be explicitly humble and inspirational. I also liked the fact that Ilibagiza felt brave enough to retell her story to the world; it must have been extremely difficult to do so.<BR/> Though "Left To Tell" is extremely uplifting and inspirational, it is inadequately written; I had to force myself more than once to continue to read it. The writing style was wandering and often erratic; This may be because Ilibagiza wrote the book in English rather than her native language and she felt uncomfortable writing the book.<BR/> Though I respect the author's experience and even admire her strength, I generally would not recommend reading "Left to Tell" in one's free time; reader, there are much better books to read of similar proportions, such as "The Diary of Anne Frank". However, if you happened to be forced/obliged to read a non-fiction book for your 10th grade English Honors class as I was, I would recommend this book, solely because there are many topics within the novel that make good essay material, such as a discussion on survival in the midst of the Rwandan Genocide, and various other analyses. I would recommend the "Diary of Anne Frank" as an alternative narrative of similar inspiration and love. If I were a professional critic I would give this book a C minus or a 2.5 out of 5.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2007

    Left to Tell Left Me Wanting

    Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust was written by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. The story stands as an amazing testimony to the power of prayer and the importance of faith in prayer, but I wonder, how does all the God talk strike a non-Christian? Does it resonate with truth, with an A-ha! that changes a life, or does it exist as a concept without relevance? The fact that the book is on the New York Times bestseller list says something, but what is it? Does the message of surrendering to Christ get glossed over by the same voyeuristic appeal that drives American culture to support Ultimate Fighting? As a Christian, the way God moved in Imaculee's life is breathtaking and clear. It's without question. It inspires a hearty 'Yes God. Bless you! You are faithful!' It stirs the soul, paints the picture of God's purpose in this world and shows where God was during the slaughter. But despite that, the book didn't grip my soul. I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't possess me to the point of being unable to put it down. Living in a bathroom with seven other women for three months should be more than a statement of fact I should live the emotional struggle between fear and faith, between death and life, with Immaculee. Instead, I experienced a foregone conclusion. It's easy to say forgive your neighbor, but when that neighbor murdered your mother, butchered your brother and looted your home the magnitude of the act is incomprehensible. And the telling of that tale should have stirred more in me. Left to Tell gets bogged down in details, of walking us through a holocaust timeline as lived by the author, and it's a journey without feeling. But that may just be my problem.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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