A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo
The lovely team from Hatchette Books sent me this gorgeous copy of A Moonless, Starless Night: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa. I had high hopes for this one as it followed the stories of four people in modern Africa trying to make a difference: a young couple who were kidnap victims of the LRA, a Mauritanian activist fighting against modern day slavery, a Somalian girls basketball team struggling for their right to play while receiving constant death threats from Muslim extremists and a government worker who starts a vigilante group demandingjustice against Boko Harem. All of these story lines are things that are of great interest to me and I always jump at the chance to read anything pertaining to any of these topics. But I must say, this one missed the mark for me.
I have great respect for anyone who places themselves in the front lines of these types of situations, and I was eager to hear the stories as told from the voice of this esteemed Nigerian American journalist. However, I felt the tone and the feel of all of the stories was clinical and blunt, evoking very little empathy or emotion and the format of the book threw me a bit. Each story is broken up individually and then divided again in to a "before" and "after" which made the flow of each narrative choppy and difficult to follow. I have read several stories regarding the atrocities that Kony and the LRA have committed and they have left me outraged, shocked and emboldened to take action. I did not walk away from this work with that same feeling -- the passion and the urge to act upon the knowledge you were reading about just was not there. If you prefer your narrators to be more aloof with a "just the facts" style of writing, then this is the book for you. 3 stars.