May. 14th, 2012

stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
Another one in the BookCrossing Favourites of 2011 ring, and I'm in two minds about it. Set largely in a mission hospital in Ethiopia, the story of conjoined twins raised in an adopted family following their mother's death and their father's disappearance, moving and aggravating by turns. On the one hand, I really didn't need to read fifty pages of birth trauma (not to mention various other gory chapters through the book); on the other, it has left me feeling generally more hopeful about the world and (as often seems to be the case with my reading these days) has demonstrated to me how little history I know outside my own bubble.

It has some interesting things to say about family, race, nation and class, and some horribly unexamined assumptions about gender (I'm not sure how much of this is the narrator and how much... isn't). The more I think about it, I am really quite angry at how the infliction of FGM was gendered female, and the healing of fistulas was gendered male.

On the whole I would recommend it, but (and this is a significant 'but') only if you can stomach the narrative of men knowing better than women what ought to be done with women's bodies, and certainly not if you have a birth trauma or surgery trigger.

http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8497585/

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stapsreads: 'The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them' (Default)
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