Janne V. (Greenville, SC)
A sad but ultimately hopeful novel
A Girl Made of Dust is a very moving story about a young girl in the midst of a war that she doesnt understand. Told from her perspective, she is generally more concerned with the personal problems in her own family - her fathers withdrawal into himself because of something that is kept secret from her until late in the story, and the resulting tension between her parents and the increasing estrangement from her brother, whom she idealizes. The war gradually keeps getting closer and she is only then forced to truly acknowledge it, although she is as confused by the reasons for it as her family is.
The novel gives us an inside glimpse of the real effects of war on families, particularly children ,and it seems clear that the author has had some personal experience with this to describe it so vividly. It also shows us how easily it is for young boys to get swept up into the fighting and how their families might react to this. In many way, it is a poignant novel, but the author manages to finish the novel with a hopeful ending showing us how resilient young people can be. Overall, a memorable book that I wouldnt hesitate to recommend.
Patricia L. Librarian (Seward, AK)
Family in a Futile War
Although told by an eight year old, A Girl Made of Dust by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi is not a childrens book. Set in a small village outside of Beirut during the long years of conflict the story reveals the life of a city under siege as experienced by a young girl and her family. The story may be compared to The Kite Runner, though not as compelling. Reading about this family can be as fatiguing as enduring the war itself.
Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)
A Girl Made of Dust
A Girl Made of Dust is a captivating book bringing the invasion of Beruit in the 80's to life through the eyes of 8-year-old Ruba. Ruba is a very wise and observant child and seems old in many ways, but is very much a child in others.
I think this book would be great for book clubs, but more importantly for young adult readers as well. I really liked the way war affects all of the generations and the redemption that also can occur.
The characters each had so much to say and were all so likable. This book is really a great read.
Laura A. (Jeremiah, Kentucky)
A Girl Made of Dust
I really enjoyed A Girl Made Of Dust. It is sad but yet also hopeful. I think young adults would enjoy the book as well as older readers. It takes the older reader back to a time when they first began to realize that the world could be a hard, cruel place but also that they could make an impact in that world.
Catie T. (Aurora, CO)
A Girl Made of Dust
Told through the eyes of 8-year-old Ruba, this is the story of one family trying to survive in 1980s Lebanon while the country is being attacked by Israel. This is a story of lost innocence, religious prejudice, violence, and family ties. The book starts out a little slow, but if the reader is patient, the pace picks up about a fourth of the way through, and you come to care about this family and are rooting for them to survive. The descriptions of the war-torn countryside of Lebanon are very vivid and realistic. Recommended for fiction lovers.
Becky H. children's librarian, (Chicago, Illinois)
The last 1/4 makes slogging through the first 3/4 worthwhile
I was excited to start this book, but after the first 50 pages I had lost interest. The heroine/narrator was simply too young to tell or comprehend the story. Half way through the characters were still puzzles as was the situation they found themselves in. The most intriguing character was Amal, who doesn't speak.
That said, the last 70 pages WERE interesting and compelling -- finally something happened. If you are interested in the Israeli-Lebenon War and willing to wade through the first 150 pages of this adult (perhaps young adult) novel the descriptions and often times lyrical writing make it worthwhile.
Barbara K. (Brooklyn, NY)
Beautifully written but slanted.
A Girl Made of Dust is told from the point of view of an 8 year old Lebanese girl with additional information filled in by adult conversation. It is beautifully written with rich imagery of everyday sights and sounds juxtaposed with the throes of a war that is inching closer and closer to this family's world. It is also the story of this child trying to make sense of her life as family relationships begin to change because of this war.
The only criticism I have is the slanted view that the Israeli Army bombed children's hospitals and asylums indiscriminately without mentioning that the PLO made a regular practice of using civilians as human shields.