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Turning the experiences of her adopted daughter into a fictionalized memoir, a Canadian journalist takes readers back to the vicious anti-Semitism and civil war that led to an exodus of Ethiopia's indigenous Jewish community in the 1980s. Having fled with her family to a refugee camp in Sudan, 12-year-old Wuditu (a fictional name) and her little sister Lewteh are caught up in a sudden round-up and conveyed back to Ethiopia. Leaving Lewteh in the care of a local Kes (rabbi), Wuditu makes her way to a city in search of rumored rescuers but finds herself trapped in a years-long daily struggle to survive that leads to being forced by a soldier into sexual servitude and reduced to slavery by a cruel bar owner. Despite some scenes related in gut-wrenching detail—a self-induced abortion, for instance—Wuditu's narrative often has a distant tone and several seemingly arbitrary twists. Still, readers will feel for her and be relieved when she is miraculously found by a faranj (white foreigner—the author) and tearfully reunited with her sister and family in Jerusalem. (map, glossary, cast list) (Historical fiction. YA)
Posted July 7, 2013
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