105 Ways to Give a Book

Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You

Attention all school districts who think you are sooo contemporary assigning The Lovely Bones as summer reading for your high school students. I know it seems like it must be a good book, because it has been on the bestseller list and everyone is talking about it. And besides it is so shocking, so that must be good, right? And it’s sad, very very sad, and sad is always good — as far as literature goes. And then there is the message of Lovely Bones, which I suppose is that rape and dismemberment of a teenager is horrifying and leaves reprecussions on everyone for a long time. I’m sure no one would have figured THAT out without reading the book.

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With YouAnyway, if you want a sad book, but with a point, maybe you can put Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You, by Hanna Jansen, on your list. This book is based on a true story about a girl, Jeanne, and her family in Rwanda in 1994. She sees her family wiped out by the militia, and then watches as the tides turn with the Rebels striking back. It’s an extraordinary story of how a child can survive with determination and luck.

The first third of the book sets the scene of Jeanne’s life with her family, so by the time they are chased out of their home and then attacked, we have grown attached to all of them. It’s a brutal book, even in the face of all the horrors that have occured in our own lifetime. But there is a point to this book. The world ignored a Holocaust in modern times. We should know about it, and we shouldn’t be allowed to forget. Unlike the awful things done to one fictional teen, that once one has read, one wants to forget.

2 comments:

Bookwoman said...

I an sooo with you on the "Lovely Bones" issue. People are always a little surprised when I voice my concerns about the recognition that this title has received.
What is your opinion of "Over a Thousand Hills" as a middle school selection? Too graphic?

Sonja said...

My german teacher kept talking about that book, and when the author came to talk about everyone was amazed, and i do agree its an extremely sad book. Its based on a true story, even the main character and three other of the author's kids came to our school. Which i must admit got me shitting in my pants. There's a lot of disturbing images in it, but also a lot inspiration and hope. If your not ready to take pretty gory things then don't read this, but if you think "Oh well that's nothing compared to what i've read" bare in mind that this is a REAL story, and every single word in there is true.