Book characters rarely fall into my dreams. Although I read What Is the What in the morning and not in bed at night, I was so impressed by the character Achak that I dreamed about him twice. I couldn’t read the book at night because it is way too saddening for me. This story is heartbreaking, but one cannot leave it alone. It is a book that changed my view of the world in many ways.
After a little research, the book became more meaningful. Dave Eggers’s brilliant narration is immersive enough. However, when I learned that the characters and experiences I read about were not fiction, my sorrow increased a little. The fact that these characters are breathing somewhere, and there is now a foundation for them changed something inside me.
Usually, I don’t focus on the characters that upset me because they affect me a lot. But I couldn’t help myself in this book; I couldn’t stay indifferent. Now when I hear the words war and Sudan, this book will always come to my mind, and I will fall apart again. Anyways! The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation was founded by Dave Eggers and Valentino Deng after the publication of the book. You can find detailed information here. Please take a look and please read this book.
What Is the What
Valentino Achak Deng is just a boy when conflict separates him from his family and forces him to leave his small Sudanese village, so joining thousands of other orphans on their long, long walk to Ethiopia, where they find safety – for a time. Along the way, Valentino encounters enemy soldiers, liberation rebels and deadly militias, hyenas and lions, disease and starvation. But there are experiences ahead that will test his spirit in even greater ways than these.
Truly epic in scope, and told with expansive humanity, so deep compassion and unexpected humour, What is the What is an eye-opening account of life amid the madness of war and an unforgettable tale of tragedy and triumph.
Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is the husband of writer Vendela Vida with whom he has two children. He wrote the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: