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Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
Brené Brown
Marxist Literary Theory: A Reader
Terry Eagleton, Drew Milne

Say You're One of Them

Say You're One of Them - Uwem Akpan I usually avoid stories with child protagonists as their preternatural sophistication and astute observations seem unrealistic and off-putting. They know too much. Uwem Akpan’s characters in _Say You’re One of Them_ apply their simple logic to their lives in the face of child prostitution, human trafficking, and ethnic cleansing. (When you discover your Hutu father has lied to his relatives about hiding your Tutsi mother, you make a note to yourself to remind him that lying is wrong.) Yet, because they are not yet cynical or suspicious, they narrate tales filled with hope and wonder, which makes their impending suffering all the more horrifying in the end. The only story I didn’t like was “Luxurious Hearses,” set on a coach bus waiting for various reasons at a depot to take refugees across Nigeria after an ethnic conflict between Muslims and Christians has broken out. It wastes a lot of time with summaries of Nigerian history and current events. Furthermore, I found the passengers’ repeated changes of collective sentiment, such as wanting to eject certain passengers and then wanting them to stay, tiring. As a device, it may make the story an allegory of Nigerian politics, but instead felt like unnecessary “crowd shots” in narrated form before returning to the real plot in the dialogue and main character’s flashbacks.