What is the What by Dave Egger & Valentino Deng

February 23, 2009
By Anonymous

"What is The What" at the beginning you will find the main character Valentino Deng who is being robed in his own house in Atlanta, Georgia. Being caught in the moment of sanity, he ponders over and over again what have he done to receive such depressing tragic events he have encounter over the past year he that he had live in the U.S. From then, you'd feel like you've been stepping in a life time line of Valentino. The story was told in a way that you'd feel the main character was telling it to you. It's not exactly a time line, because the narrator also place certain events in an disorderly way to dedicate it to certain topics. The narrator will take you back to from his short term childhood time in Marial Bai, the start of the twenty-two year civil war that involved in Sudan's government against the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army .To the journey of his walk to Ethiopia when he had to run away from being bombed by Sudanese air forces, land mines, and to avoid being preyed upon by wild beasts and human killers. Those darkest days of the time he spent in Kakuma, Kenya refuge camp.
Throughout the whole story, I felt like I have gone in a multiple journey with the main character. It's powerful enough to pull you away from the modern world, and just go back to that tragic time and place, you learn from so much of it that you began to adjust to the life & culture there. Although some part of the story can be heart wrenching and disturbing, but it make me ponder and often have deep thoughts about it, gradually I would memorize that scenario from the story as a lesson to remind myself of the moral in life. One of the story that were told from the narrator was an example of how easily boys in Sudan, during that civil war can get killed easily, really stood out to me.
There were so many favorite part of the story, that had inspired me, but one that I remember vividly in my mind was the part when Achak (Valentino) listen to a priest (that had Baptist him since he was little) tell a story about his name.

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This article has 1 comment.

rachell said...
on Feb. 26 2009 at 10:40 am
I loved this book also. Dave Eggers is one of my favourite authors (i named one of my mice after him-Eggers) and even though this was so different from his other books i loved, though it certainly was a long read. I had the hardcover copy from the library, and it was intimidating! But i really enjoyed it. Thanks for convincing others to give it a try!



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