Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Book of Jonas

I had the opportunity to read another selection from BlogHer's Book Club, The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau. 

The book is about a Muslim boy who, after war tears through his village, moves to America. Jonas is born Younis, then changes his name when he starts his new life, remembering very little of what brought him to America in the first place. The novel bounces between three different lives: Jonas, Christopher (an American soldier), and Rose (Christopher's mother).  All three lives are intertwined, even though the details are sketchy in the beginning.

To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time diving into this book, but once I hit the middle of the book I couldn't put it down. I think I was frustrated that Jonas could not remember his former life and that while you were reading it you could not determine if the events were real or in his imagination (something similar to Sapphire's The Kid). 

The book itself is moving and, for a debut novel, pretty amazing. The struggle that Jonas goes through while trying to remember his life and the events that connect him with Christopher and Rose is hard to handle at times. You feel awful for Jonas, and yet it is entirely believable. I think the part in the book that stood out to me the most is when you discover the story behind the cover, with the lioness and the gazelle. To see that story translate from nature to a war zone is beyond words.

 I would not be shocked if this was based on a true story (it's not) because it is so easy to see something of this nature happening. I don't want to give away too many details on the book, but I highly HIGHLY recommend this book.

Head over to BlogHer's Book Club page to learn more about The Book of Jonas and to join in the discussion.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

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