Monday, October 30, 2017

Book Review: A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star

A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely StarWhat is it like to grow up in the jungles of Africa? That's what J.A. Myhre sought to depict for her children through her Rwendigo Tales. Originally written as Christmas presents, but now, a gift shared with a wider audience, Myhre shows rather than tells her readers what it is like to grow up in the jungles of Africa. Her experience as a doctor who has served with Serge in East Africa for over two decades uniquely qualifies her to present the distinct challenges of those living in the African jungles. A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is the third book in her series, aimed at youth, which takes us on a journey with thirteen-year-old Kusiima and his family. Each book is set in the same general region and follows different characters, so they do not have to be read in a specific order. In her Introduction, Myhre informs us that:

"Events in this book have their roots in the real lives of real people who love each other and raise their families in places increasingly affected by the same injustices the boy in this story struggles with: loss of those he loves, disease [AIDS], poverty, deforestation, poaching, and rebel movements" (pg. v).

I thoroughly enjoyed A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star over a rainy Sunday afternoon and evening despite the fact that it is a somewhat "heavy" book gently introducing young people to the brokenness and complexity of this world. Although it doesn't expressly tell how the Gospel makes a difference in Kusiima's life or how the Gospel gives hope to those facing sin and suffering, it lends itself well to that discussion. Myhre's writing is engaging, wholesome, and age-appropriate while avoiding over-simplicity in vocabulary, plot, and conflict and is a thought-provoking introduction to life in the jungles of Africa.

Book Synopsis from the Publisher:

"Just thirteen-years-old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima’s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where? With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship?"

*Many thanks to New Growth Press and Litfuse Publicity Group for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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