Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Hare in the Elephant Trunk by Jan L Coates

Published: 2010
Publisher: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
# pages: 274
Copy provided by: Fitzhenry and Whiteside
Summary: Fitzhenry and Whiteside


When civil war strikes Jacob Deng's Southern Sudanese village, seven-year-old Jacob embarks on a seemingly endless journey that tests his courage and determination. His wise mama tells him that he must one day go to school to seek answers and help carve a better future for his people. Wadeng is a Dinka word meaning "look to the future, it will be better; follow your dreams", and it, along with his precious "Mama stone", becomes Jacob's talisman of hope, helping him remain strong on his seven-year search for a place of refuge.
Jacob and his young friends are confronted with war, starvation, dehydration, raging rivers, crocodile and lion attacks, and the evil Majok - the constant thorn in Jacob's side - as they struggle to survive on their own. As the boys work and grow together as a family, surviving in harsh conditions, against the odds, Jacob's boyhood desire to become a soldier wanes. Gradually, he comes to the realization that fighting doesn't improve anything and begins to embrace his mother's belief in education as the road to peace and stability. Inspired by the real life experiences of a Lost Boy of Sudan, this novel is about an extraordinary journey of courage, perseverance, and hope.

This review is the first that we have been approached to give. The book is a little different from ones that we normally review, but actually fits in well with our ISU group. There is none of the usual teen angst, or supernatural highjinks. It's more a book about hardship and perseverance. Thank you Fitzhenry and Whiteside for the opportunity.

A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk is a thought provoking and heart-wrenching book made all the more poignant when you realise that, although the book is fiction, it is in fact based on a true story. Jacob is one of the 'Lost Boys of Sudan', who spent his formative years, from the age of 7, wandering across the wilderness and living in refugee camps, guided only by the memory of his mother.

Jacob's strength of character is almost unfathomable. His struggles and hardships seem insurmountable, but against all odds he survives - one of only a few. His unwavering ambition to get to school and his memory of his mother is what keeps him going. This isn't a book about war. It's a book about what happens to innocents affected by war.

Ms Coates has told a story that more people should be aware of and has written it in a way that manages to keep hope alive, through unbelievable adversity. Think about our lives from the age of 7 onwards, then read this book. You probably won't want to - but you should!

If you are at all interested in finding out more about Jacob's story, check out his web site HERE. 40% of the proceeds from the online sales of this book are being donated to his charity.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for your interest in my book! Your support is greatly appreciated by both Jacob Deng and me!