I’ll put my hands up and admit that I’m ignorant to most of what is happening in the world. That’s why I jumped at the chance to review this book and learn something new. It certainly was an eye-opener.
The End of Where We Begin by Rosalind Russell
Veronica is a teenager when civil war erupts in South Sudan. Lonely and friendless after the death of her father, she finds solace in her first boyfriend, and together they flee across the city when the fighting breaks out. On the same night, Daniel, the son of a colonel, also makes his escape, but finds himself stranded by the River Nile, alone and vulnerable. Lilian is a young mother, who runs for her life holding the hand of her little boy Harmony until a bomb attack wrenches them apart, forcing her to trek on alone.
After epic journeys of endurance, their lives cross in Bidi Bidi in Uganda the world s largest refugee camp. There they meet James, a counsellor who helps them to find light and hope in the darkest of places.
The End of Where We Begin is a gripping and intimate true life account of three young people whose promising lives are brutally interrupted by war. It documents their heart-breaking and inspiring battle to keep moving on through the extremes of attack, injury, exile and trauma. It is a story of the bonds of community and resilience in adversity a powerful message for our troubled times.
The main benefit of this book for me is that I now know more about South Sudan. I remember it being in the news a lot a couple of years back but it seems to have dropped off the radar (at least in Europe and the US). It’s incredibly saddening to know that people are living with such hardship around the world. The South Sudanese were not only living with war, displacement, and famine, they are now also living with the complete lockdown of COVID-19.
At the same time, this book also opened by eyes to the generosity of people. Uganda is by far doing a wonderful job in offering homes to refugees, allowing them to work and providing land to cultivate. It may not be the perfect situation but there are many western countries that do not have the same level of humanity.
In terms of the story itself, it was very interesting following the three characters and their stories. Despite them all ending up in the same place, their stories are different and show varying perspectives of life as a South Sudanese refugee. Also, through these characters, we also see the hope and resilience of people which truly is the most beautiful part of The End of Where We Begin. The author does a fantastic job of providing a respectful representation of their lives, and by the end, I felt as if I really knew Lilian, Vanessa, and Daniel.
The End of Where We Begin is certainly worth adding to your pile. You can pick up a copy here.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.