Happy Book Birthday to The Bone Sparrow!
Date Completed: 10/25/2016
What a thoroughly touching story. Subhi is a young boy born in a permanent detention center in Australia, a refugee from Burma. He’s spent his entire life inside of a fence, learning what he can from those around him. Jimmie is a young girl that lives near the detention center who finds her way into the camp one day. She lost her mother years ago and lives with her father and brother now. Jimmie and Subhi’s blossoming friendship has a big impact on their lives and the lives of those around them in ways they cannot foresee.
I really loved the writing style, the way stories were the primary focus. As a result, the stories all seem to come to life for Subhi and are interwoven with the telling of his story. Written in first person, there is a lot that Subhi doesn’t know or doesn’t understand, but sometimes that makes the telling of the story at large more powerful.
Fraillon doesn’t leave out some of the more grotesque details, which at times I found cringe worthy, but for which I am grateful. These are things that have the potential to happen to people in the world, and it’s important to remember that.
This book was easy to tear through, and I read it in just a couple of hours. I don’t know what these detention centers are truly like, but Fraillon did a good job of communicating the sadness that would infiltrate a space like this. I did find myself skipping over parts of the book to get to more action, particularly when one of the characters was in danger and there was a momentary slow scene. Otherwise I felt that this book was very well written.
I found her afterword particularly helpful in cementing the story home for me. Now I feel like I want to do something more to help, but am unsure where to begin. I’m grateful to Fraillon for beginning to spread the word so at least we can raise awareness about this issue of mistreatment at detention centers, an issue that persists especially when refugees flee en mass, like those fleeing Syria, etc.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.