Monday, March 30, 2009

What Is The What?

I am a victim of myself. I don't go to bed at a reasonable hour...ever. I've been up until 2 for the past week. But I haven't exactly been out partying, or even watching I guess it's excusable. 
I just finished reading "What Is The What", by Dave Eggers. Like 5 minutes ago...I literally just finished the last page. Anyway, it really was one of the most remarkable books I've ever read. I usually like books that make me feel good, and this ultimately did not. While uplifting, it just made me feel bad for having the life that I've had, despite the many reiterations that the main character (a Sudanese refugee–it's a true story) makes that those of us born here in the US should be so happy and are so lucky and SHOULD enjoy life. I still feel defeated. I feel as though I've done nothing but revel in things that are completely inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. And this is true of most of the people I know; we don't have a global outlook in the US, because for so long we haven't had to. On an even smaller scale, it is too easy to become completely absorbed in everyday life and forget that the world is a place that is full of civil war, famine, genocide, starvation, etc. 
I'm sorry, I hate preachy people, and I'm really not one of them, generally, but I just feel as though something has happened to me in reading this book. I've become aware of the world in a new light, and with that fact alone, the book is a complete success. Kudos to Dave Eggers for telling Valentino Achak Deng's story in such a compelling and beautiful book, and even more so to Deng, for having the courage and the chutzpah to get this book published. 
If you don't want to read the book, at least check out his website, it's really amazing (even more so if you've just read the book).

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