Book review: God Grew Tired of Us
Jane Harkleroad, in our Collection & Resource Services Department, specializes in acquiring new items for the library collection. She has contributed a review of the book God Grew Tired of Us. Check it out below.
God Grew Tired of Us: a Memoir by John Bul Dau with Michael Sweeney
Review by Jane Harkleroad
A young boy of southern Sudan is forced to flee for his life from the attack of enemies, the Muslims who are in control of his country’s northern section. They want to take control of southern Sudan. He is one boy in thousands of boys who are escaping for the same reasons.
During his journey to safety and freedom he withstands so many traumatic, life-threatening experiences, and events—from starvation and deprivation to burying his friends who have died. All are things that you hope no child would have to endure.
Thinking that his entire family has perished, he perseveres in keeping his tribal customs and ways and continually finds something or someone in which to hope. During his epic journey through waste, wilderness, and war he mentors other young boys and becomes almost a father-figure to some.
Even through the continual assault by enemies, nature, and circumstances, John and the other boys struggle, endure, and grow. John maintains his ethics, dignity, confidence, and even at times, finds some happiness.
After a trek of more than a thousand miles in the harshest of circumstances, John and some of the boys make it to Kenya where they find safety and a welcome (though not the warmest).
It is in Kenya that they finally begin to have a life that might resemble normalcy to some—at least, to them. A camp is set up in the most barren area. John and some of the boys create a “family”. They make a home. They have water to drink, food to eat (though never enough), worship together, and they begin to get schooling.
John, wise for his years, realizes that school and learning are the key to being able to help himself, his “family”, his culture, and his country. Because of his heritage, he has been given leadership abilities and he recognizes his value to society.
John learns to read and studies everything he can find. He and his friends study and work to learn and pass each grade and exam as it comes. They encourage each other and push each other to do better.
About the middle of the book, librarians, especially, will enjoy John’s revelation.
John is about 18, when, finally, he is chosen by a church in the U.S. to come and live there under their sponsorship. Other friends are accepted, too. Some have even gone before them.
Almost overnight, he is thrust into this shockingly rich country. John and the others try to adjust to their new circumstances. The boys make mistakes and learn from them, they make progress and gain insight, make friends and enemies. Still John’s spirit of goodness continues to thrive.
Through the help of the church members, teachers, employees, John grabs hold of this opportunity and uses it to the ultimate—going to college, working hard, getting married—everything for which most people strive.
There are some surprises at toward the end that I will not divulge. Read it for yourself and enjoy. It is difficult to put down and not a hard to read at all.