The Song of Be

( 4 )

Overview

Be, a young Bushman woman searching in the desert for the peace she remembers from her childhood, realizes that she and her people must reconcile new personal and political realities with ancient traditions.

Be, a young Bushman woman searching in the desert for the peace she remembers from her childhood, realizes that she and her people must reconcile new personal and political realities with ancient traditions.

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Overview

Be, a young Bushman woman searching in the desert for the peace she remembers from her childhood, realizes that she and her people must reconcile new personal and political realities with ancient traditions.

Be, a young Bushman woman searching in the desert for the peace she remembers from her childhood, realizes that she and her people must reconcile new personal and political realities with ancient traditions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in newly independent Namibia, this novel gracefully places a tender coming-of-age tale into a political context. Raised in the Nyae Nyae area of the Kalahari Desert, Be--a Ju/'hoan (Bushman) girl--leaves the cozy warmth of her extended family group when she accompanies her mother to Ontevrede, the farm where her grandfather has worked for years. While her mother strives to please her new employer, Kleinbaas, Be becomes the protegee of the farmer's wife, who teaches the Ju/'hoan girl to read and write. A painful series of events forces Be to a deeper understanding of the Ju/'hoan people's struggles to retain the essence of their traditional way of life, and of her own family's complicated involvement with Kleinbaas and his wife. Love, too, comes to Be--in the form of dashing Khu, who arrives at the farm in his red four-wheel-drive to insure that Be and her family register to vote in their country's first democratic elections. Because it focuses on a handful of convincingly developed characters, the story is never overwhelmed by its political message and by the copious amount of information it conveys. Beake's understated evocations of the African landscape have the nearly tangible quality of a sense memory. Thoughtful and provocative. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Be's story tells of change among the San (or Bushmen, as the author says they prefer to be called) of Namibia. Her life emerges in flashbacks as she feels herself dying from a self-inflicted, poisoned-arrow wound. A young woman, probably in her mid teens, she remembers her warm and gentle childhood, broken by a trek with her mother to the Boer farm where her grandfather has worked for decades. The farmer's strangely fragile wife takes to the child and becomes her companion and teacher. When tragedy strikes the farm and Be concludes that she has betrayed everyone she loves, she leaves to try to return to her childhood place, only to find it empty. Through these events and settings, Beake successfully creates images more true to present-day Bushman realities than those of still-popular descriptions from the 1950s and '60s. Here readers see a people destructively drawn into barely paid farm labor, the army, alcohol, and unemployment. Yet Beake also offers the hope that the Bushmen will grow again in pride and identity as they work together to reestablish their values through their newly independent nation. The well-constructed plot's suspense holds readers' attention. The characters are interesting and believable; Be comes across as real and empathetic. Simple language, sometimes touching on the poetic, tries to catch the feel and perspective of someone from this hunter/gatherer culture. This novel will interest YAs who enjoy reading about people who share their common humanity though their lives are lived in profoundly different ways.-Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140374988
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.52 (w) x 7.08 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 3, 2013

    This book Song Of Be tells a touching story. All though the stor

    This book Song Of Be tells a touching story. All though the story is somewhat understandable some parts are hard to interpret exactly. I do not suggest this book for younger audiences. I thought the moral of a book taught a great lesson but I had to re-read a couple times to make sure I got it right. Overall I think the Song Of Be is an okay book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2000

    Her Song is My Song

    I have read this book and it brought tears to my eyes. Be's life is very much like mine. This is a great book and should be read by everyone.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2000

    I know how you feel Naomi

    I also loved this book. Even though I am a guy, this book still touched my life in many ways.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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