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Say You’re One Of Them by Uwem Akpan

02 Nov

I’ll openly admit I’m pretty damn ignorant when it comes to international politics and affairs. I watch the news and I read the papers sure, but I still don’t know much about all the conflicts that go on across the globe. Some I know better than others and some I haven’t the foggiest what’s going on.

Bearing that in mind I picked up this book with the vague hope of learning something about Africa and the troubles and conflicts that are going on there. The problem I found with this book was mostly mine. The author assumed that the reader would know what was going on and I shamefully had no clue. Still I did pick a lot up as I read so I have learnt something I hope!

I also did not realise that this was a collection of short stories and not just one novel. I’m not entirely sure how I felt about that either. The main problem I have with short stories is that just as you are getting into the plot and starting to love the characters it’s over. This was no different. I would have preferred to have two stories drawn out a bit more than to have the five crammed into one book.

Some stories I liked more than others. The story with the two kids being sold to child traffickers was interesting and also the very short story at the beginning of the book about the family living on the street and begging for a living was gripping. The others were a bit too depressing and brutal for me to love. I know these are all based on true events that happened in different areas of Africa so it only made the child abuse scenes and murder more horrific to read.

The other problem I had with this book is the writing. I have issues with authors using accents in books. It’s like when the Americans produce a film based in another country and have the natives speaking broken English to each other instead of their own language. Why bother with broken English. They wouldn’t be speaking in broken English to each other they would be speaking in their own native tongue so if you’re going to be incorrect anyway why not just use proper English? I find it insulting seeing these American actors speaking in atrocious German accents. Either learn German or just speak in your normal English voice. It’s the same with books. These people wouldn’t be speaking in English would they? So why not just translate what they’re saying into the correct English translation instead of a terrible, barely legible African accent. Personally I find it difficult to read a book where people’s accents and way of speaking is nearly unintelligible to me. I think the author was attempting to add atmosphere and whatnot but I think I would have felt that anyway.

Not a bad book but definitely not an easy read in any way.

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Posted by on November 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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