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Running the Rift
I remember hearing on the news and reading in the papers about the genocide in Rawanda, the racial strife between the Hutus and the Tutsis, but I really didn't understand what was going on and I forgot a very important thing. Until this courageous book with the wonderful characters of Jean Patrick and his family. I didn't think about the people living there, normal families with dreams and hopes, living during this terrible time just trying to exist, find love and take care of their own. Thanks to Benaron, I understand so much more, but the story within the telling was very well written and heartfelt, though horrible at times. Books like this make one think and that is a very good thing. As I read this I felt, angry, sad, appalled and at times even joyful and a writer that makes one feel all that is truly unique.
"Running The Rift" by Naomi Benaron is an incredible tribute to all who perished in the Rwanda genocide in the early 1990's while the world looked the other way. I picked it up because of the wonderful cover & a quick peek at the book synopsis. I read it basically in one sitting and was blown away by the moving story of Jean Patrick and his coming of age during the upheaval and horror in Rwanda. His dream was to make the Olympics - his reality was to slowly confront the truth of his life amid the horror....and somehow to continue to believe in the goodness of people and our ability to love. Benaron's incredible storytelling makes us care about all the characters, admire their strengths, realize the beauty of Rwanda and set the stage for what's to come. We watch Jean Patrick grow up - we see that people who live in horrible (by our standards) circumstances, actually, sometimes have more than we do. The love of family is forefront in this book - regardless of the horrific events happening around them. This book will be my standard for 2012 - my only complaint was I couldn't figure our what "Rift" stood for until I dug out my atlas and saw that it's a valley that runs through that part of the world. If it was mentioned, I missed it. One final note: I have reread the final chapters and realized that this is a book to be read again to truly appreciate all the beautiful layers that comprise it. I highly recommend this book!