“Nobody is who you think they are at first glance. We need to see beyond the projections we cast onto each other. Each of us is so much grander, more nuanced, and more extraordinary than anybody thinks, including ourselves.
Clemantine Wamariya, The Girl Who Smiled Beads
In 1994, Clemantine Wamariya and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, flee the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety and not knowing if their parents are dead or alive. When Clemantine is twelve, she and her sister are granted refugee status in the United States; there, Clemantine is taken in by a family who raises her as their own. She seems to live the American dream, yet the years of being treated as less than human continue to haunt her as her story unfolds.
I loved this book for so many reasons. First of all, I loved the writing style and how beautifully the life and struggles of Clementine were portrayed even though her circumstances were anything but beautiful. Secondly, it opened my eyes to, and gave me more understanding into the plight of refugees around the world and what I can do to help. To me, an exceptional book is one that gives you a new perspective regarding a topic and inspires you to do something or make a change in your own life. This book had that affect on me which is why I would highly recommend it to other readers.