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The Girl Who Smiled Beads

A Story of War and What Comes After

by Elizabeth Weil, Clemantine Wamariya

The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Elizabeth Weil, Clemantine Wamariya X
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Elizabeth Weil, Clemantine Wamariya
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  • Published:
    Apr 2018, 288 pages

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There are currently 27 reader reviews for The Girl Who Smiled Beads
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Trezeline B. (Columbia, MD)

Interesting But Confusing
Clementine Wamariya tells an interesting story but because her experiences left her confused, her book is rather confusing, Her horrible experiences for six years has made her very angry and rightly so but good things happened too. Her inability to recognize this fact left me confused about the ultimate message of her story. She and her sister were very strong and very brave. I consider them both heroines. However, their horrible experiences, even though they survived them, damaged them both.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads
An excellent meditation on how war affects family. This was an interesting portrayal of how war affects an entire community. I can't imagine how it must be to live in a village ravaged by war, but Wamariya really did an outstanding job illustrating that. This book had strong character development and was a page turner. I will definitely be looking forward to her sophomore novel.
Kathy (ME)

Mixed Bag
Two to two and a half stars.

Wamariya's story of becoming a refugee and fleeing her home with her sister is an important and relevant story. The beginning and the end of the memoir were effective and interesting, but the middle often felt muddled. Her and Weil's decision to alternate chapters between life as a refugee with life in the United States served to demonstrate Wamariya's disorientation and confusion in her different lives, but as a reader it made it hard to follow both tracks. I often had to refer back to previous chapters to remember her age, location, and other important elements. This technique also undermined the fact that Wamariya remained a refugee for several years because the book constantly jumped forward to her later years. There is an underlying anger throughout this book, that while completely understandable, sometimes makes the story hard to engage with. However, there were many eye-opening and illuminating moments scattered throughout the book.

Beyond the Book:
  Rwanda Today

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