Wednesday 13 December 2017

Book Club: Nujeen

Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey From War-torn Syria In A Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa
Image Via Chapters Indigo
Book: Nujeen
Author: Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb

Indigo Summary:
{...t]he inspiring true story of another remarkable young hero: Nujeen Mustafa, a teenager born with cerebral palsy, whose harrowing journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair is a breathtaking tale of fortitude, grit, and hope that lends a face to the greatest humanitarian issue of our time, the Syrian refugee crisis.

For millions around the globe, sixteen-year-old Nujeen Mustafa embodies the best of the human spirit. Confined to a wheelchair because of her cerebral palsy and denied formal schooling in Syria because of her illness, Nujeen taught herself English by watching American soap operas. When her small town became the epicenter of the brutal fight between ISIS militants and US-backed Kurdish troops in 2014, she and her family were forced to flee.

Despite her physical limitations, Nujeen embarked on the arduous trek to safety and a new life. The grueling sixteen-month odyssey by foot, boat, and bus took her across Turkey and the Mediterranean to Greece, through Macedonia to Serbia and Hungary, and finally, to Germany. Yet, in spite of the tremendous physical hardship she endured, Nujeen's extraordinary optimism never wavered. Refusing to give in to despair or see herself as a passive victim, she kept her head high. As she told a BBC reporter, "You should fight to get what you want in this world."

Nujeen's positivity and resolve infuses this unforgettable story of one young woman determined to make a better life for herself. Told by acclaimed British foreign correspondent Christina Lamb, Nujeen is a unique and powerful memoir that gives voice to the Syrian refugee crisis, helping us to understand that the world must change—and offering the inspiration to make that change reality.

What I Have To Say:
This book is an interesting story about a girl with a disability living in a country rich in culture and history, later a war-torn country, and then here journey as a refugee on her way to Germany. The writing was very...simple, which may bother people (myself included) until you are remind that it is being written by a 16-year old.

I really enjoyed the refugee portion of the story. It was eye-opening to get a first hand tale of living in Syria and then being a Syrian refugee. What's mind-boggling, besides the fact that this is a true story, is that Nujeen's story is not original; there's are millions of refugees that make the same (or similar) journey and that face similar challenges. Nujeen is unique in the sense that she has a disability. What REALLY bothered me is that Nujeen kept using the term "disability benefits", she used her disability to get what she wants. "Disability benefits" ranged from getting to watch what she wanted on TV to cutting the line at refugee camps because she didn't want to wait in line. She came across as bratty and entitled. 

Final Verdict:
Unless you are interested in learning about what a refugee journey is like, and can either accept or overlook an annoying narrator, give this book a pass.  

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