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A Girl is A Body of Water

by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi X
A Girl is A Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Sep 1, 2020
    560 pages
    Genre: Novels

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There are currently 13 member reviews
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  • Liz D. (East Falmouth, MA)
    A Girl is a Body of Water
    It takes a family to raise a strong woman. In the book A Girl is a Body of Water the women in Kirabo's teach and guide her to be a woman of the 21st century. She learns from her grandmother and aunts about the life of an African living in the small village of Nattetta, Uganda. Kirabo learns the tribal and customs,the stories and ledgends, the hard work of farming and making a successful life on the land. But Kirabo's dreams go beyond the village she desires European education.

    In the boarding school Kirabo meets girls who have grown up in the city. She begins to expand her worldy knowledge. Going between school and Nattetta Kirabo feels she is between worlds. Her father Tom comes home to Nattetta and takes Kirabo to the city to attend University. In Kampala Kirabo is left under the wing of her Aunt Abi, who teaches her the ways of the modern world while instilling in Kirabo the importance of her heritage.

    One of the threads of Kirabo's rich story is her search for her mother, she wants to find her place in the world and family.

    After university Kirabo's journey takes her back to Nattetta where she is able to reconcile her education with her families customs and ways finding a unique place for herself in modern Africa.

    Ms. Makumbi has give a beautiful insight into African culture filling the book with memorable characters and stories. i would recommend this book to many friends because like any great book it can be read and experienced on many levels.
  • Marianne L. (Syosset, NY)
    A Gem
    A Girl Is a Body of Water is a beautifully written book that sketches the story of a girl in 1970's Uganda struggling to discover who she is amid the overbearing clutches of a patriarchal society. Early in the book you come to care for Kirabo, our main character, rooting for her as she navigates the myriad influences of time and place. Storytelling exerts a powerful influence upon the characters in this book, whether that be for better or for worse. Rich in its depiction of Ugandan culture in the 70's, you become immersed in its wisdom and deceit. If the intricacies of cultures beyond the western world interest you, you may enjoy this book. Given the vast differences between western and Ugandan culture, this story convincingly shows how much our human needs and desires transcend time and culture.
  • Sonia F. (Freehold, NJ)
    A Girl Is A Body Of Water
    Jennifer Mansubuga Makumbi is a born storyteller. Every word resonates with such imagery of this Uganda village and its denizens. Told in alternate chapters from a third person point of view,this novel has a " folklorish" aura about it: tradition, superstitions, tribalism is all served up in this captivating page turner.

    Kirabo search for her mother haunts her throughout this novel and while seeking who and where her mother is learns about the rest of the family. The secrets, the silence is all complicit. The vernacular is at times funny, but yet brilliantly served up with personification and profound metaphors: " his stare made her feel as if the world was scorched but she was the only plant sprouting ".

    The characters are rich and round... they all have a story to tell and tell it they do . At this juncture, I will say that it was helpful that there was a character list at the end of the book It was very hard keeping the numerous names in place.
    Even though it took many pages later to find out who Kirabo's mother was, it was quite an experience traveling to Uganda learning about this rich culture: family, village life, beliefs, and much told about the Uganda unrest and civil war in the 1980's.

    I love the storytelling within the storytelling. It was like sitting around a fire and listen to your grandmother tell stories of long ago and why life is the way it is now.
    A very captivating story of a young girl coming of age: falling in love , attending school, painful experiences, but through it all she endured .
  • Nicole S. (St. Paul, MN)
    Great storytelling
    We learn early in the book that a great storyteller deserves a level of respect from her listeners. This is a great story. The descriptions of Uganda are evocative and lush. Kirabo is the type of girl heroine that you cheer for and at times grimace at. But her search for her mother, her self and her history are all heart and fascinating. Enjoy this book, it's a treat.
  • Naomi B. (Tucson, AZ)
    A Girl Is a Body of Water: A stunning coming of age story
    With A Girl is a Body of Water, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi gives us an epic coming of age tale not only of Kirabo, a young girl growing up in the rural village of Nattette, but of the nation of Uganda. The story begins in 1975, when Kirabo is twelve. She lives with her grandparents and a house full of teenagers of unspecified relation to Kirabo. Kirabo has a gift for storytelling, and the book begins with her story of a woman who buries her newborn daughter in an anthill because her husband wants only sons. This sets the stage for a novel steeped in mwenkanonkano, the Ugandan feminist movement.

    Kirabo is a "special child." She is born with "the original state" inside her, a consciousness going back to Ugandan origin myths. It allows her to leave her body and fly, swinging from the church steeple until, "like a canon, she launched into the sky." Kirabo is conflicted because her Christian upbringing tells her these powers are evil. In secret, she consults Nsuuta, the village witch. She has two requests: to lose her original state and to find her birth mother, who deserted her when she was a newborn. These conflicts propel Kirabo forward as she leaves the village for boarding school in Kampala, falls in love, and survives Idi Amin's reign of terror.

    "Stories are critical," Nsuuta tells Kirabo. "The minute we fall silent, someone will fill the silence for us." Makumbi has told a critical story. With beautifully wrought prose, characters you cannot help but fall in love with, and the bravery to confront the complex issues of society, she gives us a vision of a brighter stronger, and more equal world.
  • Susan B. (Fort Myers, FL)
    Endearing portrait of growing up in Uganda
    A Girl is a Body of Water, you drop her in and she finds her depth. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to all my bookclub friends.

    Kirabo, a twelve year old Ugandan girl, grows into a young adult. She has to struggle with traditional roles and modern roles, between history and a modern future. The importance of family and culture are always pulling her in different directions.

    She is forced by circumstances to deal with family expectations, a missing mother, the dealth of loved ones, war, and friendships; those lost and those found. The entire cast of family and friends are delightful, a wonderful testament to folklore and a way of living that has much common sense in it.

    Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi works a spell that puts you in the story. The depth of the characters is woven in the narrative. Her writing is excellent, I look forward to her next book.
  • Margaret F. (Beaumont, CA)
    A Girl is a Body of Water
    Jennifer Makunbi has written a sensitively descriptive story of Kiroba, a young Uganda girl's development into a goal-oriented woman. Readers may identify with the theme of coming of age for all young women regardless of culture. The main family characters are strong and thoughtful. The story shifts between past and present to support a tender story highly recommended for book club discussion. The cast of characters listed was very helpful.
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